Higher Standards

Posted by lex, on December 16, 2010

Parents with students bound for our nation’s most prestigious military institutes of higher learning are bound to be alarmed at the news flooding the wires recently *:

Sexual assault reports at the three U.S. military academies rose 64 percent in the 2009-10 academic year, but many more victims probably didn’t come forward, the Defense Department said Wednesday.

A total of 41 sexual assaults involving students were reported to authorities at West Point, the Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy in 2009-10, the department said in its annual report on sexual harassment and violence.

In the previous academic year, 25 were reported…

The Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs, Colo., had the largest increase in reported sexual assaults, from eight in 2008-09 to 20 the next year, a jump of 150 percent.

West Point – officially, the U.S. Military Academy, in West Point, N.Y. – reported 10 assaults in 2009-10, an increase of one.

The Naval Academy, in Annapolis, Md., reported 11 assaults in 2009-10, an increase of three.

Even one sexual assault is too many of course, but the academies – like the university system more broadly – do not recruit exclusively from the ranks of the Vienna Boys Choir, and it would be difficult to argue against the omnipresent evidence of our society’s degraded moral culture when it comes to the issue of sexuality.

It’s useful to compare notes with the broader campus population as we assess the human damages here. According to a report **on the issue during the Bush administration, just under 3% of college females report a sexual assault during the academic year.  The Naval Academy’s 4400 strong student body is about 22% female, yielding about 890 female mids. Three percent of 890 would predict 29 rapes or attempted rapes against 11 actually reported in 2009-2010. And although you could argue that females in the academy system are less likely to report an assault or attempted assault than her sisters elsewhere, you’d be arguing absent evidence, so far as I can determine: Sexual assault remains one of the most under-reported crimes, no matter what the venue. So in essence a female undergrad at Navy is 62% less likely to experience a sexual assault as is her undgrad cohort nationally, although you won’t see that on the news wires.

Marginal increases in very small numbers yield frightening percentage changes. Army and Navy are looking pretty good.

USAFA, maybe, not so much.

** 02-22-20 Original link(s) gone; substitute found – Ed.

*** 02-22-20 Link gone; no substitute found – Ed.

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Military, USNA

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