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Sex assault reports in military up 10 percent: report

Sex assault reports in military up 10 percent: report
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The number of sexual assaults reported across the military increased almost 10 percent last year, the largest increase the Pentagon has seen since 2015, The Associated Press reported on Wednesday.

The jump was largely due to a nearly 15 percent hike in sexual assault reports in the Marine Corps, which rose from 870 in 2016 to 998 last year, officials familiar with the data told the AP.

Navy sexual assault reports, meanwhile, rose from 1,450 in 2016 to 1,585 in 2017, an increase of approximately 9 percent.

The Air Force also had approximately 9 percent more reported sexual assaults, while the Army saw an 8 percent hike.

Overall, there were 6,769 reports of sexual assaults in fiscal 2017, which ended Sept. 30. There were 6,172 reports in the same period in 2016, according to officials, who spoke ahead of the public release of the Pentagon’s annual report.

The military continues to struggle to address sexual assault within its ranks, issues highlighted by a nude photo-sharing scandal in early 2017 that started with the Marines but has engulfed the rest of the services.

Troops allegedly shared nude photos of female service members on "Marines United,” a 30,000-person Facebook group. Some of the photos were taken and posted without the women’s knowledge and some of the comments on the page allegedly include rape threats.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service eventually found that most of the photos were voluntarily shared — which is not illegal under military code — and therefore only a few military members faced repercussions.

Last year’s Pentagon report on sexual assault in the military included an anonymous survey that found that an estimated 14,900 U.S. service members experienced some form of unwanted sexual contact in 2016. That was down from 20,300 in 2014, the last time such a survey was done.