Reports Of Sexual Assault In The Military Rose 50 Percent In The Past Year

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

The number of reported sexual assaults in the military increased more than 50 percent since 2012, the Pentagon announced Friday.

Officials say there is increased awareness and a greater willingness to report the incidents.

Col. Alan R. Metzler, deputy director of the Pentagon's sexual assault prevention and response office, said more victims are willing to file official complaints since the national spotlight was turned on the issue.

"Given the multiple data points, we assess that this is more reporting," Metzler said.

In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2013, more than 5,000 sexual assaults were reported, compared to 3,374 in 2012, according to the Associated Press.

However officials still say the actual number of assaults is probably near 26,000. – five times the number of that reported.

"We're still not where we want things to be," said Metzler. "But we think all of this is having an effect."

Jill Loftus, director of the Navy's sexual assault program, says there is an increased awareness of what constitutes assault or harassment.

Based on surveys, she says, "we are not seeing a perception that the number of incidents are going up."

"More likely, we have people who understand what sexual assault is," she added.

Sources: New York Daily News, ABC News