Protect Our Defenders News Blog


Statement: Protect Our Defenders Applauds Historic Decline in Military Sexual Assaults

May 16, 2024

Protect Our Defenders Applauds Historic Decline in Military Sexual Assaults

The report found a 19% decrease in unwanted sexual contact for women and a 13% decrease for men when compared to 2021

Washington, DC – Today, the Department of Defense released its Fiscal Year 2023 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military. This report marks the first decrease in sexual assault and harassment in the military in over eight years. According to the new data, there has been a 19% decrease in unwanted sexual contact for women and a 13% decrease for men when compared to 2021. Yet, less than 70% of female survivors report satisfaction with sexual assault response services. The findings come amid one of the largest military sexual assault scandal in history, involving Maj. Michael Stockin, who is accused of assaulting more than 100 victims with over half of the victims lacking adequate legal representation. This highlights the critical work that remains to be done to support survivors and reform the system.

Late last year President Biden signed an executive order implementing the most transformative military justice reform following a military sexual assault survivors-led campaign from Protect Our Defenders that secured the support of President Biden to ensure that no victim’s boss is able to decide whether they receive justice. The new legislation empowers independent military prosecutors to determine whether those accused of sexual assault, rape, murder, domestic violence and other serious offenses will be prosecuted. Protect Our Defenders remains vigilant, ensuring these historic reforms are effectively implemented.

Protect Our Defenders Senior Vice President, Josh Connolly, former Chief of Staff for Rep. Jackie Speier (former Chairwoman of the Military Personnel Subcommittee on the House Armed Services Committee), released the following statement:

“We commend President Biden, legislators, survivors, and all those involved for their unwavering dedication and efforts to reduce sexual assault in the military. While we’re heartened by the reduction in prevalence, there’s still more work to be done.

“Gaps in confidence in the military justice system still exist, and it is critical that Congress and the Pentagon provide more support for survivors. We must ensure effective implementation of the historic military justice reforms and oversight, and enact further reforms to stop the culture of sexual abuse in the military.

“Protect Our Defenders is committed to holding military leadership accountable and ensuring justice for all survivors, particularly as the military addresses ongoing retention and recruitment challenges.”

About Protect Our Defenders: Protect Our Defenders is the pre-eminent national human rights organization dedicated to ending sexual violence, victim retaliation, misogyny, sexual prejudice, and racism in the military and combating a culture that has allowed it to persist. We seek to honor, support and give voice to the brave women and men in uniform who have been sexually assaulted while serving their country, and re-victimized by the military adjudication system – a system that often blames the victim and fails to prosecute the perpetrator. Learn more about Protect Our Defenders at or on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at