Sexual assault is up 13% in the US military, according to an annual report released Thursday to Congress by the Department of Defense.
The numbers from fiscal year 2021 are the highest since the US military began tracking sexual assault in 2006.
"The Department estimates that 35,875 active duty Service members experienced some form of unwanted sexual contact in the year prior to being surveyed," it said.
That translates to 8.4% of active duty women experiencing sexual assault and 1.5% of men experiencing unwanted sexual contact.
The statistics only confirm what has been an ongoing problem in the US armed forces divisions for decades.
"Sexual assault and sexual harassment remain persistent and corrosive problems across the military," according to the report.
The numbers showed that 8,866 cases of sexual assault were brought forward in 2021, a 13% increase from the year before. Of those cases, 7,249 were from active duty members who said they experienced sexual assault during their service.
The Army had the highest spike in sexual assault reports, jumping 26% from 2020. It is the largest increase for that division of the military since a 51% jump in 2013.
The Navy had a 9% increase in unwanted sexual contact, followed by the Air Force and Marine Corps – each reporting a 2% rise in sexual assaults.
Military officials said the Pentagon remains "sharply focused on solving this problem."
"Across the entire Department of Defense, we are building enduring cultural change on an unprecedented scale," Gilbert R. Cisneros Jr., Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, said in a statement.
"We are incorporating accountability and transparency into our response process while establishing a professionalized prevention workforce to reduce harmful behaviors and promote the well-being of our Service members," he said. "Taken together, the efforts will set the right conditions to reduce and eliminate unwanted sexual contact, sexual assault, and sexual harassment in the Military Departments."
Source: Anadolu Agency