Reported sexual assaults across US military increase by 13%

WASHINGTON (AP) — Reports of sexual assaults across the U.S. military jumped by 13% last year, driven by significant increases in the Army and the Navy as bases began to move out of pandemic restrictions and public venues reopened, The Associated Press has learned.

Mirroring the increase in those reports is the disclosure that close to 36,000 service members said in a confidential survey that they had experienced unwanted sexual contact — a dramatic increase over the roughly 20,000 who said that in a similar 2018 survey, U.S. defense and military officials said.

The latest numbers are certain to anger lawmakers on Capitol Hill who have been critical of the Pentagon’s efforts to get a handle on sexual crimes and misconduct.

According to officials, the overall increase is largely fueled by a nearly 26% jump in reports involving Army soldiers. It’s the largest increase for that service since 2013, when such reports went up by 51%.

The increase in Navy reports was about 9%, the Air Force was a bit more than 2% and the Marine Corps was less than 2%, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the reporting has not yet been made public.

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