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 / Updated  / Source: NBC News
By Courtney Kube

The number of reported sexual assaults by members of the U.S. military rose again in 2014, according to the Pentagon's newest annual report.

But the Pentagon office that handles sexual assault complaints said the crime is often underreported, and its estimate of how many sexual assaults occurred over that time decreased from last year.

In fiscal year 2014, the military received a total of 6,131 reports of sexual assault involving service members as either victims or subjects, an 11% increase from fiscal year 2013 reporting, and a 70% increase from fiscal year 2012.

Female victims made the majority of reports — 79% of the reports were from women compared to 20% made by men.

But the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office at the Pentagon said it estimates that about 20,300 active-component service members were sexually assaulted during the last fiscal year. That number is down from about 26,000 in FY 2013.

The office estimates that 10,600 men and 9,600 women were sexually assaulted.

The 20,300 estimate is out of 1,317,561 active-component service members, so it represents just under 1% of men (1 in 100) and 4.9% of women (5 in 100) in the active component who experienced a sexual assault in the past year.

Among those who reported sexual assault, men more often described their assaults as serving to humiliate or abuse them as opposed to having a sexual intent, and they were more likely to describe the assault as hazing. Assaults against women were more likely to involve alcohol — 41% of women had been drinking at the time of the assault, the report said.

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