Though Congress passed a comprehensive defense bill in December to crack down on sexual assault in the military, advocates for assault survivors remained skeptical. Many students at U.S. military academies agree, claiming they believe they have had to put up with sexist and offensive behavior in order to maintain their standing. In an annual Pentagon report released on Friday, the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) looked at multiple academies across the country and concluded that such behavior is frequent and expected.
Students reported that among cadets and midshipmen, protecting one’s reputation is imperative to achieving success at the academy, leading to reluctance in standing up to inappropriate behavior.
As a result, SAPRO suggested that training, especially among student leaders, be strengthened so that students feel they can intervene when they witness or hear of misconduct. Additionally, the report factored in alcohol as a strong element in assaults and advised military leaders to limit and monitor the sale of liquor.