Reports of sexual assaults by members of the military rose 50 percent in 2013 after the government began a vigorous campaign to get more victims to come forward. But ahead of a Pentagon report on the issue being released Thursday, officials said they are still struggling to get more male victims to seek help, and that they will put a greater focus on prevention programs — including plans to review alcohol sales and policies.
There were 5,061 reports of sexual abuse filed in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, compared with 3,374 in 2012.
Officials said prosecutions for sexual assaults in the military have also gone up. The military was able to take some action against 73 percent of the accused perpetrators who were subject to the military justice system, said Nate Galbreath, the senior executive adviser for the Pentagon's sexual assault prevention office. In 2012 that figure was 66 percent.
But officials are still unhappy with the low number of male victims who reported sexual assault, and they say there will be a greater emphasis in the months ahead on getting men to come forward and seek help. Final data obtained by The Associated Press show that about 14 percent of the reports filed last year involved male victims.
Defense officials said Wednesday that encouraging more men to report sexual assaults is a difficult challenge because male survivors often worry that it will make people think they are weak and trigger questions about their sexual orientation.