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The Department of Defense released an annual report on Tuesday showing an 11 percent increase in reports of sexual assault in the military over the past year, including a 16 percent increase in reported assaults occurring in combat areas, principally Iraq and Afghanistan.
The report said there were 3,230 reports of sexual assault filed involving service members as either victims or assailants in the fiscal year that ended in September. The Pentagon attributed the rise largely to an upward trend in the reporting of incidents, and said the jump did “not necessarily” reflect an increase in the number of incidents.
The Pentagon offered no evidence that reporting rather than sexual assault itself was on the rise in the military, and there have been reports in recent years suggesting that the strains between men and women in close quarters in war zones have exacerbated the problem.