Back in 2003, a scandal over sexual assault at the Air Force Academy made national headlines. As Westword reported in its award-winning story, female cadets had been victimized by fellow cadets. Now, more than seven years later, the problem is on the rise again. Reported sexual assaults at the academy, located in north Colorado Springs, rose from eight cases in the 2008-09 school year to 20 in the 2009-10 year, an increase of 150 percent, according to The Gazette. The statistics appear in the Defense Department’s annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies, a survey of students at all three institutions, which finds, overall, that 56 percent of women and 12 percent of men reported being sexually harassed. Assaults, defined as “the crimes of rape, unlawful sexual contact, forcible sodomy, and attempts to commit these offenses,” were up 64 percent at all of the academies, notes ABC News.
Clifford L. Stanley, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, responds to the report in a news release, while KUNC radio talks with Colonel Reni Renner, vice commandant of cadets for culture and climate at the Academy, who attributes the higher numbers to an increase in reporting: “We think it’s tied to the level of trust and confidence that our students have in our victims’ services that they do come forward at a little bit higher rate than we’re seeing in some of the other [schools].”