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Thursday, January 31, 2019

UPDATE: Air Force Academy sees drop in sexual assault reports

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2019 at 5:04 PM

  • Courtesy Air Force Academy
Just in from Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria:
We are fully engaged in the fight against sexual harassment and sexual assault at the Academy. Harm to any one of us is unacceptable, and we will not rest until every cadet at the Academy is in an environment where they can focus solely on their professional and personal development as exceptional leaders of character in the U.S. Air Force.

As leaders, we remain committed to tackling this issue head-on. We've already taken numerous steps in the past year including changes to our alcohol policy, implementation of a 'Safe to Report' policy encouraging cadets to come forward without fear of punishment for minor misconduct, and progress on implementation of an anonymous reporting option to eliminate perceived reporting barriers. We have worked diligently to create new programs and adjust existing ones in order to better serve our cadets.

With support of the Secretary of the Air Force, we will aggressively work to further the national dialogue on sexual assault and harassment prevention. In April she, other service secretaries, civilian college and university leaders, DoD and academy leadership, subject matter experts and members of Congress will hold a summit to discuss the scourge of sexual harassment and assault facing colleges and universities. We are excited to attend this summit as we focus on best practices and continue to work toward a culture that will not tolerate harm to one another, where survivors are empowered to come forward, and where anyone violating our values is held accountable.

————————ORIGINAL POST 5:04 P.M. THURSDAY, JAN. 31——————————-

The Air Force Academy's number of sexual assault reports received in academic year 2017-18 declined, while reports at the other two service academies climbed.

That's one finding of the Department of Defense's Annual Report on Sexual Violence and Harassment at the Military Service Academies, released on Jan. 31.

According to the report:
• The Military Academy saw an increase in reports of sexual assault, receiving 56 reports, up from 50 reports last year.
• The Naval Academy received 32 reports, up from 29 the previous year.
• The Air Force Academy received 29 reports, a decline from 33 last year.

But the estimated rate of sexual harassment at the Air Force Academy remained statistically unchanged at 46 percent for female cadets (47 percent in 2016), and 13 percent of male cadets (11 percent in 2016), DoD reported.

However, the Defense Department report says fewer cadets and midshipmen made harassment complaints this year than last year. In total, only seven informal complaints and no formal complaints were made at all three academies, down from 16 informal complaints the prior year. The Air Force Academy received one.

Those aren't numbers the military should boast about, says Protect Our Defenders, a human rights organization focused on ending sexual assault in the military. In a news release, the organization said:
The Pentagon report shows a continued failure to address the crisis of sexual assault and harassment. Sexual assault reports skyrocketed 47% since the last report was last released in 2017. During the 2015-2016 academic year, 12.2% of women, or 507 victims, reported sexual assault, and from 2017-2018, that number rose to 15.8%, or 747 victims. The rate of sexual assault has doubled since over the last four years. This year’s report also shows that over 50% of the women attending the academies were sexual harassed in the academic year.
Excessive drinking has long been associated with sexual assault, so the survey delved into that topic and found:

• Military Academy: 17 percent of female cadets and 35 percent of male cadets reported alcohol use consistent with heavy drinking (5 or more drinks). Also, 31 percent of men and 25 percent of women acknowledged at least one occasion in the past year of being unable to remember what happened the night before due to drinking.

• Naval Academy: 18 percent of women and 38 percent of men indicated use consistent with heavy drinking, and 28 percent women and 30 percent men acknowledged at least one occasion in the past year of being unable to remember what happened the night before due to drinking.

• Air Force Academy: About 10 percent of female cadets and 22 percent of male cadets reported use consistent with heavy drinking, while 21 percent of female cadets and 23 percent male cadets acknowledged at least one occasion in the past year of being unable to remember the prior night’s events due to drinking.

We've asked for a comment from the Air Force Academy, which has had its share of sexual assault problems, and will update when we hear back.

Read the entire report at the link provided above at the start of this blog.
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