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Sexual harassment down at USMA

WEST POINT – The number of reported cases of sexual harassment and violence at the US Military Academy at West Point declined in 2013 from 2012. That finding is included in the Department of Defense Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies that was released on Friday.

There were 10 reports of sexual assault at West Point in 2013, down from 15 the previous year.

Overall, academy numbers have dropped.

At West Point, their program continues to focus on raising awareness, understanding the cultural implications of sexual harassment and assault, educating academy personnel on prevention and reporting, and building a solid network system for victims/survivors, according to academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen, Jr. “It’s essential to build on an environment that values dignity and mutual respect for all,” he said. “It is my number one priority.”

The DOD’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office reassessment last year indicated the academy has improved its sexual harassment/assault policies, procedures and processes and was found compliant in all areas.

“Some of the most significant improvements and initiatives were authored by the cadets themselves,” said USMA Sexual Assault Response Coordinator Laureen Barone. “The development of Cadets Against Sexual Harassment/Assault is a grassroots program that was developed in order to provide the Corps of Cadets fully informed peer leaders to enable dialogue and discussion among the cadets themselves at the lowest levels. It is here where we are finding much of the learning that is taking place.”

The goals of the annual survey are to eliminate the harmful and illegal behavior and to provide a safe and healthy environment for cadets.