Pentagon says there’s been a 50% rise in sexual assault reports in 2013

A Pentagon review of preliminary data from this fiscal year is showing that there have been around 5,000 reports of sexual assault since October 2012, a 50% increase in the amount of sexual assault reports as compared to 2012.

As terrifying as that sounds, it’s actually, in some ways, a positive thing. It doesn’t mean that there were actually 2,500 more sexual assaults this year than last year, but really that 2,500 more people in the military felt confident about reporting their sexual assaults without as much fear of retribution. Many of the reports filed were actually in relation to assaults that happened before this year.

“The fact that victims are willing to come forward, including increasingly about incidents that occurred prior to service, suggests growing confidence in the U.S. military’s system to respond to such cases,” said said Pentagon spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Catherine Wilkinson.

Just this past week, President Obama signed several reforms into law on Thursday that will hopefully do something to end the epidemic of military sexual assault. The reforms will strip commanders of their power to overturn sentences resulting from court martials, eliminate the five-year sexual assault reporting statute, and establish minimum sentencing requirements for military personnel found guilty of sex crimes.

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