Shocking report reveals sexual assaults at America’s military academies

The increase continues in what officials believe is an upward trend in academies, despite an influx of new sexual assault prevention and treatment programs.

However, comparing the numbers over the past three years is difficult. The number of reports dropped across all academies during the 2019-2020 school year cut short by the pandemic, when in-person classes were canceled and students were sent home in the spring to finish the online semester.

Although there were fewer reports that year than the previous year, a senior defense official said that based on trends, the total would likely show an increase if students did not leave early. Additionally, the number of reported assaults in 2020-2021 was also higher than the previous academic year for the 2018-2019 pandemic.

Officials said the overall jump in cases was driven by increases at the Air Force Academy and the US Military Academy at West Point.

Officials said 131 attacks were reported by female students or female Navy officers in 2020-2021, compared to 88 the previous year and 122 the year before. Officials discussed the reports on condition of anonymity because they have not yet been made public.

According to officials, female cadets at the Colorado Air Force Academy reported 52 assaults, compared to 46 at West Point in New York and 33 at the US Naval Academy in Maryland.

During a visit to West Point earlier this month, Army Secretary Christine Wormott met with academy leaders, faculty and students and spoke about the problem of sexual assault. She said they talked about a so-called Trust program, which cadets lead and helps train them to address sexual assault and harassment and encourage intervention when they see questionable behavior.

“West Point works hard to increase female students’ confidence in their reporting system while preventing incidents from happening in the first place,” Warmott said, adding that West Point has increased resources for victims “to ensure the Academy handles each case with care.”

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