Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies

Today the Department of the Defense released the annual report of Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies


DOD Evaluates Sexual Harassment and Prevention Response Efforts at Military Academies

The Department of Defense (DoD) today released key findings from the Academic Program Year (APY) 2011-2012 “Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the United States Military Service Academies.”  As part of this year’s review, the superintendents of the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, and the U.S. Air Force Academy assessed their academy’s policies, training, and procedures for effectiveness of prevention and response to sexual harassment and violence.  The report also contains the results from the “2012 Service Academy Gender Relations Survey.”

Consistent with department-wide efforts to increase victim reporting, the academies saw an overall increase in the number of sexual assault reports made to authorities in APY 2011-2012.  During the evaluation period, a total of 80 reports of sexual assault involved cadets and midshipmen compared to a total of 65 reports in the prior APY. Thirteen of the reports made this year were for sexual assaults that occurred prior to the cadets and midshipmen entering military service, as compared to five such reports made in the previous year.  All who reported a sexual assault were provided with access to support services through their sexual assault response coordinators.

“We recognize there is more work to do on sexual assault prevention across the Department of Defense as well as at the military academies,” said Maj. Gen. Gary S. Patton, director, DoD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office.

Anonymous survey results showed the overall rate of unwanted sexual contact at the service academies has not changed since 2010.  The Service Academy Gender Relations Survey found a slight increase in the prevalence rate of unwanted sexual contact among female cadets at the United States Military Academy.  There was no statistical change in the prevalence of unwanted sexual contact among male cadets and midshipmen.

Survey results also showed a significant decrease in the prevalence of sexual harassment experienced by women at the U.S. Air Force Academy and men at the U.S. Naval Academy.  There were no other statistically significant changes in prevalence rates of sexual harassment at the academies.

Citing the need for greater progress, the secretary has directed the services to review and enhance their academy programs:  http://www.defense.gov/news/ServiceAcademiesSecDefMemo.pdf .  The service secretaries are to report back to him in 90 days with plans to advance a climate of dignity and respect and to more completely integrate sexual assault and harassment prevention into the full spectrum of academy life and learning.

“My staff and I plan to work with each academy and service in the months ahead to find new ways to incorporate prevention of sexual assault and harassment into academy culture,” said Patton.

The complete report is available at http://www.sapr.mil.  For academy specific information, contact the individual military services at 703-697-2564 for Army, 703-697-5342 for Navy, and 703-695-0640 for Air Force.

 


 

Statements by Navy Leadership

Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus

I am deeply troubled by the results of today’s report on sexual assault and violence at the military service academies, particularly as it relates to the U.S. Naval Academy.  In fact, I am angry about those results.

I find it shameful that even one would-be officer would engage in this criminal behavior and treat peers with such disregard and disrespect.  I am disheartened to learn that, according to some midshipmen, a culture persists in the Brigade which discourages the reporting of these crimes.  I am disappointed that we have apparently not instilled in each and every midshipman the sense that being loyal to one another means first being loyal to the service and to the uniform.

The results of this report and survey tell us that, even for all our past efforts, the prevalence of sexual assault at the Naval Academy has not decreased, but unfortunately the reporting of those crimes has.  They tell us that more than 60 percent of female midshipmen and ten percent of male midshipmen were sexually harassed during the academic year.  And they tell us that sexual harassment is also experienced by the vast majority of those who experienced sexual assault in the year prior to being surveyed.

We simply must reverse these trends.

Sexual harassment and sexual assault, like any crime, have no place in the Navy and Marine Corps.  The U.S. Naval Academy must stand as the exemplar of only the finest attributes of naval service. It is no mere college.  It’s that part of the Fleet where we prepare future officers to lead Sailors and Marines.

I am convinced that most midshipmen are mature, upstanding young men and women driven by patriotism and a zeal to serve their country. However, as we have seen in war and in peace, each time one or more of us acts out of indignity, disrespect or malfeasance the honor of the many is stained and the missions we conduct are compromised.

That is why I have tasked the Chief of Naval Operations to take whatever steps he deems appropriate — immediately — to address these issues.  He will, in concert with the Academy Superintendent, direct those actions necessary to increase the personal safety of midshipmen on campus; deglamorize the use of alcohol; foster a command climate more conducive to the reporting of sexual offenses, and adopt for use at the Naval Academy the very best training and prevention practices from the Fleet.

I remain convinced that with the strong and committed leadership we have at the Academy, we can and will create an environment where sexual assault and harassment are prevented, where victims feel comfortable reporting the crime should it occur and receive the counseling and assistance they require, and where every midshipman can focus on his or her professional growth and development rather than on their personal safety.

We can do better than this.  We are better than this.  I’m looking forward to working with senior Navy leaders to prove it.


 

 Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert

Sexual assault is a crime — this report troubles me in that it exposes issues of safety and readiness.  There is no place in our Navy for sexual harassment or assault.

Our midshipmen, Sailors, civilians and their families deserve a safe work environment in which everyone is treated with dignity and respect.  We will act to immediately address the areas of concern in the report, and implement fleet practices that have proven to be successful in reducing sexual assault and violence.   The Superintendent will take action to address the following areas:

  • Midshipmen safety and security
  • Professional conduct
  • Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) education and training
  • Victim support

The Naval Academy will work closely with the Department of the Navy Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office in taking these actions.

My charge to the Brigade of Midshipmen is simple, they must exemplify the very best of our ethos as they prepare to join the fleet. They, like the rest of our Navy, must intervene and step in when they see one of our shipmates threatened by another.

I look forward to working with Vice Admiral Miller as he leads the Naval Academy in developing future Naval leaders.

 


 

Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Mike Miller

The results of today’s report on sexual assault and harassment at the Naval Academy are extremely concerning to me.  As a team, the Naval Academy sees these results as a call to action, and is uniformly committed to taking positive and proactive steps in the fight against the egregious acts of sexual assault and harassment.

The Naval Academy takes seriously all incidents of sexual harassment and unwanted sexual contact – actions which are fundamentally incompatible with our Navy’s core values.  We have zero tolerance for this behavior and our goal is to deter and completely eliminate it.

As superintendent, I will continue to emphasize education, awareness and the importance of reporting sexual assaults. Every midshipman receives more than 30 hours of sexual harassment and assault prevention and education training over the course of four years, with training specific to their rank held no less than five times a year.  Our sexual assault response personnel are committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of victims.  We will also continue to provide ample tools and resources so that midshipmen feel confident in reporting these incidences.  As always, I will hold accountable those who are found to have committed these heinous acts.

The entire leadership team at the U.S. Naval Academy is committed to immediate and proactive actions that will ensure the Academy continues to be recognized as a beacon of Navy core values. We have already begun to use the survey results to identify improvements in the training, accountability and reporting aspects of our program. Specific actions items include:

  • Conducting a Sexual Assault “Stampout” Stand-down upon the Brigade’s return in January; including recently developed Fleet Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Training for every Midshipman.
  • Improve safety and security of the Brigade by increasing leadership presence in the Bancroft Hall dormitory and other campus facilities.
  • Improve victim support through the assignment of additional civilian Sexual Assault Response Coordinators and Victim Advocates, implementation of policies to increase the confidentiality of those victims reporting sexual assaults, and screening of incoming Midshipmen for past experiences of sexual assault in order to provide appropriate victim support.
  • Improve Sexual Assault and Prevention Response education, training and services by integrating best Fleet and DOD practices.
  • Address sexual assault contributing factors, with a continued focus on responsible use of alcohol, including educational efforts through random breathalyzer tests.
  • Reach out to the many sponsor families within the community of Annapolis to enlist their help in identifying and/or removing causative factors.

As superintendent, I want to ensure that all midshipmen have confidence that the Naval Academy will address and appropriately resolve all incidents of sexual harassment and unwanted sexual contact.  Most importantly, I want to ensure that everyone at the Naval Academy continues to promote a positive command climate where this type of behavior is immediately identified and ultimately eliminated.  As an institution producing future leaders for the Navy and Marine Corps, nothing is more important than instilling and maintaining a climate where all midshipmen always treat one another – and expect to be treated – with dignity and respect.