Sexual assaults at U.S. military academies surged last year

Beijing, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) –The number of reports of sexual assault at the three largest US military academies jumped in the 2020-2021 academic year, according to a defense Department report released on Monday.Sexual assault scandals at US military academies have sparked outrage in recent years.Congress has repeatedly urged the military academies to reform, so far to no avail.According to the report, 52 sexual assaults were reported at the AIR Force Academy, 46 at the U.S. Military Academy, or West Point, and 33 at the U.S. Naval Academy in the 2020-21 school year, for a total of 131, far higher than the 88 reported in 2019-20.That’s up from 122 in the 2018-19 academic year.Cadets throw their hats in the air to celebrate graduation at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, May 27, 2017.It is worth noting that while the number of reported cases of sexual assault may seem to have decreased in the 2019-20 academic year, the number of reported cases was still alarming given that the COVID-19 pandemic was dominated by online classes and reduced face-to-face contact.A senior DEFENSE Department official told The Associated Press that if recent trends are any indication, the 2019-20 academic year will likely see an increase in the number of sexual assaults at U.S. military academies compared to the previous year.The number of sexual assaults at MILITARY academies in the United States is much higher when sexual assaults involving military and off-campus personnel, incidents of sexual harassment and victims’ failure to report them are taken into account.Graduates embrace as they celebrate their graduation and say goodbye at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, May 27, 2016.(Xinhua/Yin Bogu) The US Congress has urged military academies to take more preventive measures and strengthen disciplinary mechanisms amid public anger over the growing number of sexual assault cases at military academies.But DEFENSE Secretary Lloyd Austin admitted that while the Pentagon was actively studying the matter, it had so far failed to find a good solution.The United States usually conducts anonymous surveys about sexual assault among cadets every two years, but did not do so in 2020 because of the pandemic.NAT Galbraith, the Defense Department’s officer in charge of sexual assault prevention, said the investigation would begin this spring.The other two, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut and the U.S. Maritime Academy in New York state, are run by the Department of Transportation and are not included in the defense Department report.(Yang Shuyi)

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