Nearly 60 percent of women and 20 percent of men felt sexually harassed while attending the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, last year, according to an annual Defense Department report on misconduct at the service academies. But despite an increase in sexual misconduct found in the voluntary survey of midshipmen, such incidents go largely unreported.
The Naval Academy has an anonymous reporting system where midshipmen can report sexual harassment and other issues without fear of retaliation. Despite this, midshipmen made only two informal reports and no formal reports of sexual harassment last year. The year prior, there were 12 informal complaints made. Most said they didn’t make a formal or informal complaint because they didn’t think the issue serious enough or they resolved the issue with the offending person on their own.
The Defense Department survey measures issues including unwanted sexual contact, harassment, confidence in leaders, and alcohol use among midshipmen at the Naval Academy as well as cadets attending other military academies. Based on this year’s survey results, the Defense Department estimates that 254 midshipmen have experienced some sort of unwanted sexual contact.
The Naval Academy requires midshipmen to participate in a sexual harassment and assault prevention and awareness training program each year they attend the academy. The program is offered through the office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response and the Sexual Harassment and Assault Prevention Education, or SHAPE program. The Navy Academy also revamped its alcohol education and sexual assault prevention programs with emphasis on bystander intervention.
Source: Capital Gazette