By: Peter Daou on March 19, 2009 A troubling BBC report: Reports of sexual assault by US military personnel against both fellow troops and civilians rose by 8% last year to 2,923, the Pentagon says. The number of incidents reported in Iraq and Afghanistan rose by about a quarter on the previous year to 163. Pentagon officials say the jump in reports suggests the department’s policy of encouraging victims to come forward is bearing results. But they estimate that no more than 20% of attacks are actually reported. “Given the fear and stigma associated with the crime, sexual assault remains one of our nation’s most under-reported crimes in both the military and civilian community,” said Dr Kaye Whitley, the director of the Pentagon’s Sexual Assault and Prevention Office.