Sexual assault reports surge in US military

Marines, both male and female, participate in Marine Combat Training on February 22, 2013 at Camp Lejeune, North CarolinaReports of sexual assaults in the US military jumped 60 percent last year, but officials said Wednesday the surge shows victims have more confidence their cases will be taken seriously. There have been a spate of high-profile cases in the past two years, leading to a series of initiatives and prompting President Barack Obama to express outrage over the problem and lawmakers to demand dramatic action. About 5,400 cases of sexual assault were reported in fiscal year 2013, or about 15 a day, said Pentagon spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Cathy Wilkinson, citing preliminary statistics. But the military’s handling of sexual assault cases came in for harsh criticism at a Senate hearing on Wednesday, with victims telling lawmakers they were humiliated and even demoted after reporting crimes.

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