Fort Bragg tackles military's spiking sexual assault problem

Steve Daniels Image
Thursday, August 30, 2018

FORT BRAGG, NC (WTVD) -- In the year of the "Me Too" movement, Fort Bragg commanders are sharing new ideas to help reduce the rising number of sexual assaults in the military.

They hosted the fourth annual Special Victims Summit to bring together law enforcement agencies, medical professionals, and lawyers.

"We're coming together to learn more, to be better tomorrow than we are today," said Col. John Melton. "It's something that we have to continue to strive for special victims, the whole process."

A May 2018 report showed a 10 percent increase in service members reporting a sexual assault in the 2017 fiscal year.

The Defense Department received 6,769 reports of sexual assault involving service members as either victims or subjects of a criminal investigation in that span.

"Every sexual assault in the military is a failure to protect the men and women who have entrusted us with their lives," Navy Rear Adm. Ann Burkhardt, the director of the Defense Department's Sexual assault Prevention and Response Office told reporters in response to the report. "We will not rest until we eliminate this crime from our ranks."

More than 850 people attended the Special Victims summit at the Iron Mike Conference Center at Fort Bragg.

"We all know that we will always have predators in our communities, and it's about how we actively continue to drive toward helping victims," Melton said.