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Veterans: “14,900 Sexual Assaults Is Too Many”

NEW YORK, NY (May 1, 2017) — Today, the Department of Defense (DoD) released its Annual Report on Sexual Assault. The report highlights DoD’s continued efforts at reversing the prevalence of sexual assault in the military, and estimated nearly 15,000 incidents of sexual assault in the last year alone. DoD also reported on minor advances, including a decrease in incidents of sexual assault and an increase in reporting. 

“One sexual assault in the military is too many, period. Can you imagine a Fortune 500 corporation reporting on progress that sexual assaults of their staff decreased to around 15,000?” said Allison Jaslow, Executive Director of IAVA. “IAVA appreciates the Pentagon’s continued commitment to tackling the sexual assault epidemic in our military, and we applaud the positive trend in reporting. But the numbers estimated in today’s report underscore the need for persistent focus on this issue.” 

“Men and women alike are victims of sexual assault,” Jaslow continued, “but, the women surveyed by DoD experienced sexual assault at a rate seven times that of men in the past year. The military continues to have a woman problem and we need all Americans to stand behind us as we seek to solve it.

“IAVA launched its groundbreaking She Who Borne The Battle campaign in March of this year, which aims to shed light on the issues facing women servicemembers and veterans. Key to this campaign is tackling head on the cultural issues that women continue to face as servicemembers and veterans. That is why we are calling on Congress to swiftly pass the Deborah Sampson Act, and the Administration to once and for all change the VA’s discriminatory motto.”

Since its inception, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the leading non-profit, non-partisan organization representing post-9/11 veterans and their families, has been a strong advocate for military sexual assault reform. IAVA’s specific policy recommendations can be found in our Annual Policy Agenda. 

She Who Borne The Battle: More than 345,000 women have deployed since 9/11. Women are the fastest-growing segment of the veteran population and that trend will continue as the number of male veterans simultaneously declines over the next five years. However, many female veterans are left without the proper care to support their needs when they return from their service. She Who Borne the Battle will change this by providing a foundation of public awareness, local support and policy changes solely targeted at supporting and empowering female veterans. Lead elements include changing the outdated VA motto and passing the historic Deborah Sampson Act for women veterans. Learn more at

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