1 in 10 women at AF school face unwanted contact
The Associated Press
AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — One in 10 female cadets at the Air Force Academy said they suffered unwanted sexual contact in the 2013-2014 academic year, a figure essentially unchanged from the previous academic year, according to a Defense Department survey released Wednesday.
Compared to the other U.S. service academies, the Air Force Academy also had the highest rate of women who reported unwanted sexual conduct to military authorities or organizations, at 20 percent, the survey said.
The average was 16 percent among the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Military Academy, the Air Force Academy and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
“We recognize there’s a lot to do,” said Col. CJ Bausano, the Air Force Academy’s vice commander of cadets for culture and climate.
Bausano and other officials said Air Force cadets get intensive training on what constitutes sexual misconduct and how to prevent it.
Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson released a statement Wednesday citing numerous initiatives by the academy to combat sexual harassment and assault.
“Regardless of the severity of the assault or where it occurred, victims know that they can make a restricted or unrestricted report and seek the help and support they need,” Johnson said.
The Pentagon said 9.7 percent of female Air Force cadets who completed the survey said they experienced unwanted sexual contact, down from 11.2 percent in a 2012 survey. The Defense Department said the difference was statistically insignificant.
The U.S. Naval Academy had the second-highest rate, at 8.1 percent, but also had the biggest drop, from 15.1 percent in 2012.
The U.S. Military Academy at West Point in New York reported a 6.5 percent rate, down from 10.7 percent in 2012. The U.S. Coast Guard Academy reported a 6 percent rate, down from 9.8 percent.
The survey was a written questionnaire filled out anonymously, and 2,512 of the school’s 3,845 cadets responded.
Types of misconduct: Seven percent of female cadets at the Air Force Academy said they experienced unwanted intercourse or attempted intercourse, while 2.4 percent said they experienced unwanted sexual touching.
Reasons for keeping quiet: The leading reasons women said they didn’t report unwanted sexual contact were that they didn’t want people talking about them, they didn’t want anyone to know and they didn’t think it was important enough to report.
Offenders: Of female Air Force cadets who said they experienced unwanted sexual contact, 99 percent said the offender was male and 64 percent said the offender was a cadet in the same class as the victim.
Fifty-six percent said the offender used physical force.
Unwanted behavior: The survey said 48 percent of female cadets said they suffered sexual harassment, up from 44 percent in 2012.
Male victims: Some 1.4 percent of male Air Force cadets said they experienced unwanted sexual contact in 2014, essentially unchanged from 1.7 percent in 2012.
Drugs and alcohol: Of the cadets who experienced unwanted sexual conduct, 51 percent of women and 36 percent of men said drugs or alcohol were involved.
VA head asks Coffman: ‘What have you done?’
WASHINGTON — Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald has asked a Colorado Republican lawmaker who served in both Iraq wars what he has done in his career as the two men sparred over huge cost overruns at a troubled Denver VA hospital.
McDonald was defending the VA’s budget at a hearing Wednesday when he and Rep. Mike Coffman tussled over construction delays and cost increases at the Denver site. After a few minutes of arguing, McDonald snapped at Coffman: “I’ve run a large company, sir, what have you done?”
Coffman, an Army veteran who served in both Iraq wars, did not respond at the hearing. But the four-term lawmaker said in a statement later that he has “never run a federal agency that tolerates corruption the way the VA has.”
— The Associated Press
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