U.S. soldiers
Illustration: U.S. soldiers. Photo by AP
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Jewish war veterans are calling for meaningful action to be taken to combat sexual abuse in the U.S. military.

“The Jewish War Veterans of the USA (JWV) condemns the continued prevalence of reported and unreported male and female sexual misconduct in the military and calls for an independent process to review and prosecute these cases,” the group wrote in its Spring 2013 Jewish Veteran magazine.

The magazine called the number of unwanted sexual contacts reported by the Pentagon “alarming” and “seriously understated.”

In the past three years, the military has seen a 35 percent increase in victims of unwanted sexual contact, from 19,300 victims in 2010 to 26,000 victims in 2012. The vast majority of the cases go unreported; 3,374 were reported in 2012.

According to the JWV, of the total number of active duty service members affected by unwanted sexual contact, 38 percent of women and 17 percent of men indicated that the offender was someone of higher rank or grade who was not in their chain of command, and 25 percent of women and 27 percent of men indicated that the offender was within their chain of command.

Under current military law, victims of sexual misconduct have no recourse to appeal decisions that provide leniency for their offender and no alternative way to ensure that the attacker pays for his crime.