1 in 5 Female Cadets At Military Academy Says She Has Been Sexually Assaulted

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Almost 20 percent of the female cadets at The Citadel last spring reported they had been sexually assaulted since enrolling at the military college, according to results of a survey released by the school Wednesday.

About 4 percent of the male cadets also reported being sexually assaulted since joining the formerly all-male school, according to the results of the survey.

Citadel president Lt. Gen. John Rosa is using the survey to start a Values and Respect Program to educate cadets on such topics as sexual harassment, alcohol abuse, the honor code and racism.

He had said earlier that the incidence of sexual assault and sexual harassment was higher than at the federal military academies, but the specific Citadel numbers were not released until this week.

It has been a decade since the state-funded college opened its doors to female cadets. Last year, 118 women and 1,770 men were enrolled.

All the women and about 30 percent of the men were asked to complete the anonymous online survey, Citadel spokeswoman Charlene Gunnells said. Of those, 114 women and 487 men responded.

The reported sexual assaults included unwanted touching, but 16 of the 27 incidents reported by women and 15 of the 23 reported by men involved unwanted sexual penetration or oral sex.

Most of the reported incidents involving women happened in the barracks or elsewhere on campus, and the alleged perpetrator was another cadet, according to the survey. Some of the cadets reported being subjected to more than one sexual assault.

Sixty-eight percent of the women reported one or more incidents of sexual harassment, including sexual stories, jokes and offensive remarks.

Rosa, who came to The Citadel a year ago, previously was superintendent of the Air Force Academy. He had arrived there amid a leadership shake-up following a sexual assault scandal that found female cadets feared they would be disciplined if they reported rapes.

A survey of the U.S. military academies released last year found that more than 50 percent of female respondents and 11 percent of male respondents experienced some type of sexual harassment since enrolling. That survey also found 64 incidents of sexual assault among the more than 1,900 females at the service academies.

The Justice Department has estimated as many as 25 percent of women could be raped or experience an attempted rape while attending college in the U.S.