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Reported sex assaults in the US military have dropped. That reverses what had been a growing problem

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of reported sexual assaults across the military decreased last year, and a confidential survey found a 19% drop in the number of service members who said they had experienced some type of unwanted sexual contact, according to new figures obtained by The Associated Press. Both are dramatic reversals of what has been a growing problem in recent years.

More than 29,000 active-duty service members said in the survey that they had unwanted sexual contact during the previous year, compared with nearly 36,000 in the 2021 survey, according to several defense officials. The decrease is the first in eight years.

At the same time, 8,515 sexual assaults were reported last year involving members of the U.S. military, a decrease from 8,942 in 2022. And officials said the U.S. military academies also saw fewer reported sexual assaults in the school year that ended last spring versus the previous year.

President Joe Biden hailed the improved numbers as he spoke Wednesday to his military commanders, who were gathered at the White House.

“I’m proud that for the first time in nearly a decade, rates of sexual assault and harassment are, within the active-duty forces, are down. They’re down. That’s because of your leadership,” Biden said.

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