Of the three U.S. armed service academies that saw jumps in the number of sexual assaults reported during the 2014-2015 school year, the U.S. Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs, Colorado saw the biggest spike, the Associated Press reported Friday. In all, some 91 reports of sexual assault were fielded during the last school year by the academies, of which were reported at the Air Force Academy, nearly doubling the school’s 2013-2014 number of 25.
While the Air Force Academy saw the most sexual assault reports, the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, saw the most sexual harassment reports. Of the 28 reported sexual harassment complaints at the schools — a 40 percent increase compared to the 2013-2014 school year — 13 came from the Naval Academy, while eight came from the Air Force Academy and seven came from the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York, the AP reported. Overall, there were 59 sexual assault reports at the schools in 2013-2014.
The Air Force Academy has been marred by sexual assault scandals in recent years. Most recently, the attorney for a male Air Force cadet charged with sexual assault said the incident that occurred last year in which a classmate said she was groped by the cadet was consensual, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported.
In October, a male Air Force cadet was convicted of sexually assaulting a female cadet in 2014, the Air Force Times reported. One of the biggest sexual assault scandals at the Air Force Academy came in 2003, when it came to light that some school officials routinely ignored the regular harassment and assault of female cadets.
Defense officials have said the 2014-2015 spikes are at least partly attributed to students being more confident in the schools’ reporting system, the AP reported. In the past couple years, the academies have implemented training programs for leaders and students, including videos and information sessions to bring awareness to the sexual assault reporting process.
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Focus groups found that students at the academy did know how to report sexual assault and how to care for victims, yet were still largely unclear on what to do about sexual harassment, partly because the two offenses are handled by different offices.