The Pentagon released its annual report of sexual assault and harassment at the three service academies and the numbers have risen 64 percent from last year. There were 41 incidents during the 2009 to 2010 school year, up from 25 the previous year. The high for reporting was 42 in 2005, the same year that the Pentagon began compiling these types of statistics at the Air Force, Army and Naval academies. The report defines sexual assault as including “the crimes of rape, unlawful sexual contact, forcible sodomy, and attempts to commit these offenses.” ...

As with other similar reports, the report stresses that sexual assaults often go underreported in society as a whole. It cites a 2007 estimate that in the civilian world only 19 percent of rapes are reported to police and that among college women about 12 percent are reported. An anonymous survey conducted in tandem with this year’s report suggested “that the 41reports of sexual assault at the MSAs accounted for fewer than 10% of the incidents of unwanted sexual contact that may have actually occurred.” The survey also found 13 percent of women reported incidents of unwanted sexual contact in the 12 months prior to being surveyed. Response rates for this survey at the three academies ranged from 77 to 88 percent.

DOD changed its policies about five years ago to give victims the restricted reporting option where they could report an assault and receive treatment without having to initially identify the offender. Victims can decide later if they want to change their status to unrestricted reports which is where the victim steps forward to their chain of command and hold the offender accountable. The 41 reports this past school year break down as 19 restricted and 22 unrestricted, five of them were initially filed as restricted and later changed to unrestricted.

Also see: "ACLU Lawsuit: Military Won't Release Rape Records"