Military Sex Assault Reports Jump by 50 Percent

The number of reported sexual assaults in the military shot up by more than 50 percent this year, The Associated Press reported. According to early data obtained by the AP, there were more than 5,000 reports of sexual assault filed during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, compared to the 3,374 in 2012. The increase may suggest that victims are becoming more willing to come forward after a string high-profile assaults and arrests triggered outrage in Congress and set off months of debate over how to change the military justice system, defense officials said. Jill Loftus, director of the Navy's sexual assault program, which also includes the Marine Corps, said the increase in reporting also suggests that more service members are starting to understand what types of behavior constitute harassment or assault. The military has long struggled to get victims to report sexual harassment and assault in a stern military culture that emphasizes rank, loyalty and toughness.

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