Pentagon study reveals sharp increase in military sexual assault

Pentagon report estimates that 26,000 service members were sexually assaulted in 2012

Published May 7, 2013 11:00PM (EDT)

     (AP/John L. Mone)
(AP/John L. Mone)

The Pentagon released a study on Tuesday estimating that 26,000 military service members were sexually assaulted in 2012, up from an estimated 19,000 the previous year.

The report comes only days after Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski, chief of the Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention and Response branch at the Pentagon, was arrested and charged with sexual battery in Virginia, an incident that has, once again, brought a military culture plagued by rampant sexual violence and failures of accountability from military leadership into stark relief.

Estimated numbers of assaults are considerably higher than reported incidents because many victims to do not report the assaults, as the New York Times notes: "The military recorded only 3,374 sexual assault reports last year, up from 3,192 in 2011, suggesting that many sexual assault victims continue not to report the crimes for fear of retribution or a lack of justice under the department’s system for prosecuting them."

President Obama denounced the failures of military accountability during a press conference on Tuesday, saying he had "no tolerance" for military sexual assault and: “If we find out somebody’s engaging in this stuff, they’ve got to be held accountable, prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court-martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged -- period.”


By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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Military Pentagon Rape Sexual Assault Sexual Violence Violence Against Women