New York - Female U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan have more to fear than roadside bombs or enemy ambushes. They also are at risk of being raped or sexually assaulted by fellow soldiers.
The number of reports of sexual assault in the U.S. military rose by 8 percent in fiscal 2008 from the previous year and by 25 percent in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a report released by the Pentagon in March.
There were 2,908 reports overall of sexual assault by members of the military. Such assaults include rape, indecent assault and attempted rape, the report said.
Of the 40 women Benedict interviewed who served between 2003 and 2006, 10 said they had been raped, five said they were sexually assaulted including attempted rape, and 13 reported sexual harassment.
A 2003 survey of more than 550 female veterans who served in wars from Vietnam to the first Gulf war found that 30 percent said they suffered from rape or attempted rape and 79 percent reported being sexually harassed, according to the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.