NEW YORK (NBC News) – Reports of sexual assaults in the military jump 50 percent after launch of campaign urging victims to come forward.
The military is trying to get out the message: Sexual assault is not just a women’s problem.
Brian Lewis knows that all too well, he says he was raped by a senior officer while serving in the navy, “It made me question every assumption that I had made about myself,” Lewis says, “that I was able to take care of myself.”
Lewis now works with non-profit protect our defenders, helping the many men afraid to come forward, worried about retribution or questions about their sexuality.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is unveiling new efforts to help male victims specifically.
“We have to fight the cultural stigmas that discourage reporting and be clear that sexual assault does not occur because a victim is weak,” Hagel says.
The Pentagon says following a new campaign to encourage reporting reports of sexual assault rose by 50 percent last year, but only 14 percent of those came from men, even though a survey indicates more men than women are actually getting assaulted.