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WATCH: Defense Dept. Takes Aim at Sexual Assault on Men

WATCH: Defense Dept. Takes Aim at Sexual Assault on Men


A new video from the Department of Defense is presenting some very alarming statistics on sexual assault on men in the military.

The U.S. Department of Defense wants male victims of sexual assault in the military to know that their voices are being heard, and the Pentagon is hoping to shed light on the alarming hurdles they face with an informative public service announcement.

According to the DOD's video, out of the country's over 1.3 million active-duty military personnel, 20,000 were sexually assaulted over the period from fall 2013 to summer 2014. The DOD also reported that during that same time frame between 9,000 and 13,000 active-duty military men were sexually assaulted, and that although harassment and unwanted sexual advances declined for women between 2012 and 2014, there was reportedly "no significant statistical change for men."

"The moment a man enlists in the United States armed forces, his chances of being sexually assaulted increase by a factor of ten," wrote Nathaniel Penn in a GQ report on the growing epidemic of rape in the military. "Women, of course, are much more likely to be victims of military sexual trauma (MST), but far fewer of them enlist. In fact, more military men are assaulted than women -- nearly 14,000 in 2012 alone."

It is worth nothing that the number of instances in which military men have been sexually assaulted could actually be quite higher, since, as the DOD points out, the stigma many victims of assault face may prevent them from reporting what happened.

"An overpowering shame prevents many enlisted men from reporting an assault -- a sense that they must somehow be complicit in what has happened to them," Penn continued. "Straight men often question their own sexual orientation, while gay men may struggle to find intimacy in relationships because they don't trust other men (or their own judgment). Telling the secret ruptures families and friendships. So does not telling."

"It goes into men's conditioning as adults that they don't know how to reach out when this happens to them," Lori Heitman, Army CID supervisory special agent, said in a statement on the DOD's video. "More often than not, men actually will not ever disclose [an assault]. If they do, it'll take 22 to 25 years on average to report being victimized."

Watch the Department of Defense's report on sexual assault on men in the military below.

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