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Pentagon Survey Cites Improvement in Sex Harassment

June 15, 1996

WASHINGTON (AP) _ More than half the women in the military report being the targets of sexual harassment, according to a soon-to-be-published survey by the Pentagon.

In its survey of 90,000 active-duty women in the military, the Pentagon said 55 percent reported being the target of sexual harassment in the previous year, down from 64 percent in a 1988 survey.

But 78 percent of those questioned in the latest survey said they had experienced some kind of offensive behavior such as being the focus of whistling or leering. Three-fourths of those respondents, however, said they did not view the incidents as harassment. That broader question was not asked in the 1988 survey.

Forty-one percent of those polled reported unwanted sexual attention such as touching, 13 percent said they had received coercive proposals for sex in return for job advancement and 6 percent said they had been victims of sexual assault, according to The Washington Post, which said it had obtained a copy of the survey’s results.

Among the various services, 53 percent of they Navy women surveyed said they experienced harassment. Figures for Marine Corps, Army and Air Force women were 64 percent, 61 percent and 49 percent, respectively, according to the newspaper.

It said the Navy scored better than other services when members were asked if leaders were making ``honest and reasonable efforts to stop sexual harassment.

The survey was first reported this week by ABC News.

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