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For 1st time, France adopts plan to address problem of military sexual assault

  • France Military Sexual Assault-1.jpg

    FILE - In this July 14, 2013 file photo, a female soldier leads a group of soldiers during the Bastille Day parade in Paris. France claims great success in "feminizing" its military, with among the world’s highest percentages of women in uniform. What it hasn't done is work to prevent sexual assault once they get there. The defense minister on Tuesday April 15, 2014 announced the first plan to address the problem and inflict harsher punishments on those found guilty.(AP Photo/Francois Mori, File) (The Associated Press)

  • France Military Sexual Assault-2.jpg

    FILE - In this July 14, 2013 file photo, a French female soldier, center, parades with a group of French and German soldiers during the Bastille Day parade in Paris. France claims great success in "feminizing" its military, with among the world’s highest percentages of women in uniform. What it hasn't done is work to prevent sexual assault once they get there. The defense minister on Tuesday April 15, 2014 announced the first plan to address the problem and inflict harsher punishments on those found guilty. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File) (The Associated Press)

France claims great success in increasing the proportion of women in the military. What it hasn't done is work to prevent sexual assault once they get there.

That is about to change.

The French defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Tuesday announced the country's first plan to address the problem and inflict harsher punishments on those found guilty.

It involves reforms as basic as including sexual and moral harassment in the military code, creating a statistical database, and improving the barracks situation. Women make up 15 percent of French uniformed military personnel — about the same as the U.S. and among the highest rates in the world.

Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also announced that three women would join a nuclear submarine crew by 2017 — another first for France.