US federal officials are increasingly taking an interest in the rape allegations at the US Merchant Marine Academy, eliciting statements of support from groups like the academy's alumni association.

But some of those same groups remain silent on their previous denials that sexual assault was an issue at all.

Ahead of a 21 October meeting with industry stakeholders, the US Merchant Marine Academy Alumni Association and Foundation announced it would be adding #womenbelongatsea to all its social media posts in support of Midshipman X — the anonymous academy senior who detailed