Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel didn’t shy away from one of the most important and controversial issues facing the military when he spoke to future military leaders Saturday. Addressing graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point on Memorial Day weekend, Hagel said it was the responsibility of the young members of the armed forces to help stamp out sexual assault within their ranks, reports the New York Times. "Sexual harassment and sexual assault in the military are a profound betrayal—a profound betrayal—of sacred oaths and sacred trusts," Hagel said. "This scourge must be stamped out."
His words come a day after President Obama delivered a similar message to graduates at the U.S. Naval Academy and comes amid a series of allegations that have engulfed a wide cross-section of the armed services in recent months, points out the Associated Press. The issue is particularly fresh in West Pont, where an Army sergeant was recently charged with secretly videotaping women in the showers. A study released earlier this month by the Defense Department estimated that reports of unwanted sexual contact in the military soared 35 percent in 2012 from 2010, reports CNN.