As many as 6,769 sexual assault cases in the U.S. military were reported in fiscal year ending on Sept. 30, 2017, up about 10 percent from 6,172 reported in the previous year, according to a Pentagon annual report released on Monday.
These cases involved 4,193 female service members and 1,084 male service members, said the Pentagon in its annual review, noting that other involving victims were not in the U.S. military.
The number of female service members reporting sexual assault went up 13 percent, the Pentagon said. The number of men reporting remained flat.
The number of reports from the Marines increased 14.7 percent, the Navy 9.3 percent, the Air Force 9.2 percent, and the Army 8.4 percent, the survey finds, noting that in total, 81 percent of the formal complaints in 2017 happened on duty while 98 percent of offenders were male service members.
The surge in the fiscal 2017 included two major online photo sharing scandals and high-visibility affronts, as well as incidents are on the rise despite greater awareness, said local media reports.
The Pentagon will need additional data to determine whether the rising number of reported assaults reflects an increase in actual sexual assaults occurring, or just an increase in victims’ willingness to come forward and report them, said Nate Galbreath, deputy director of the sexual assault prevention and response office.