In the past several months, shameful secrets about the high incidence of sexual violence in the military have come to light. Staggering statistics from the Department of Defense show that in the last year alone some 26,000 individuals in the military reported unwanted sexual contact, yet out of those only 3,374 cases ? less than 13% ? were formally filed. Even more shocking is the reality that many of the military leaders charged with overseeing the very programs to prevent and respond to sexual violence were guilty of the same crimes.
Sexual violence issues reflect security in its most intimate realm. Danger and combat are an expected component of military service, but this compromise of personal security is a most covert form of friendly-fire. In the words of U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) "Too often, women and men have found themselves in the fight of their lives not in the theater of war - but in their own ranks, among their own brothers and sisters, and ranking officers, in an evironment that enables sexual assault."
Senator Gillibrand has introduced a bill, S. 967, the Military Justice Improvement Act of 2013, now sponsored by 33 U.S. Senators. This measure would move the reporting and decision making process on matters of military sexual assault to outside legal counsel, and out of the military chain of command. Please urge your Senators to co-sponsor S. 967 today.
We also expect that Senators will have an opportunity to vote on this issue soon, when the Senate considers the National Defense Authorization bill in July or in the fall. Our goal is to have a majority of U.S. Senators sponsoring Sen. Gillibrand's S. 967 by the time that Defense Authorization bill is considered by the full Senate.
You can make a difference! Please email your Senators today. Ask them to co-sponsor Sen. Gillibrand's bill to move sexual violence reporting and decision-making outside the chain of military command. It is a cruel irony that our service men and women, whom we rely upon for our security and to protect us from violent attacks, cannot expect security and freedom from violent attacks amongst their own brothers and sisters in arms.
Help us change that today by taking action to email your Senators today, to do so - please click the button above the article.