Washington, D.C. – Over the past few years, the U.S. military has been under intense scrutiny over incidents of sexual assault and harassment among troops and has made great strides

According to the Department of Defense report, there were 6,131 reports of sexual assault in the 2014 fiscal year which represents an 11 percent increase over the previous year. The increase according to the report is attributed to military members’ willingness to come forward with allegations and is not due to an increase in assaults.

Of those reports, 80 percent were filed by women and 57 percent of complainants said they were subjected to retaliation along with the inappropriate sexual contact. Twenty-two percent of women in the military were subjected to sexual harassment according to the report.

Seven percent of military men said they were subjected to sexual harassment, according to the report.

For women, the assaults typically took place outside of the workplace and often involved alcohol, while the majority of men faced harassment while at work with no alcohol involved.

For both men and women, sexual harassment can lead to long-term psychological problems causing victims to suffer from anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress syndrome. Targets of sexual harassment and assault, military or not, often report feeling embarrassed, humiliated and worthless.

The military has been working very hard to inform personnel and encourage them to come forward if they have been subjected to sexual harassment and assault. But many victims are afraid to come forward because they fear they will be punished by their superiors and peers so they do nothing and simply tolerate the inappropriate sexual behavior regardless of the effects it can have on their well-being and the workplace as a whole.

No one whether they are in the military or are in the civilian workplace should have to tolerate sexual harassment or assault. Not doing anything about it just encourages the behavior and fosters an environment where it gets worse. Employers who do nothing about sexual harassment are subjecting their employees to repeated abuse and are setting the stage for a civil suit. Victims need to contact a sexual harassment attorney and determine if they have grounds for an employment discrimination suit.

There are strong legal protections against sexual harassment and courses of action the victims need can explore if their employers refuse to take action. With the assistance of a sexual harassment attorney, a victim may be able to pursue their employer for compensation for their lost wages and emotional distress.

A person should feel safe in their workplace and is an employer’s duty to give them that sense of security. Sexual harassment is not good for any workplace and should be addressed appropriately. If not a sexual harassment attorney will build a case for a victim and work to get them the compensation they deserve. USAttorneys can connect you with a sexual harassment attorney in your area so you can set up a meeting and figure out the best approach to take in your case.