- The Military Justice Improvement Act would transfer the decision to prosecute sexual assault cases from a chain of command that has failed victims far too often to independent, impartial military prosecutors.
- A Marine Was Assaulted. Her Commander Said She Deserved It For Wearing Running Shorts.
Chuck Schumer, D-NY
February 8, 2014 | In December, the National Defense Authorization Act passed with historic new protections for survivors of sexual assault in the military and brand new ways to hold perpetrators of assault accountable.
That’s a tribute to the thousands of fellow supporters who spoke up, signing my joint petition with my colleagues in favor of reform — but it wasn’t enough.
My colleague from New York, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, is pushing for reforms that would transfer the decision to prosecute from a chain of command that has failed victims far too often to independent, impartial military prosecutors.
The legislation is called the Military Justice Improvement Act, and a large group of supporters is coming together to build support for it right now.
The Department of Defense estimates a shocking 26,000 instances of rape, sexual assault and unwanted sexual contact occurred in our military — just in 2012 (the last year for which we have data). That’s an average of 71 cases every day.
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Under December’s new protections, the commanding officer of a survivor still has the power to hear assault claims and administer punishment. All too often, that system leads to inaction or a failure of accountability.
We cannot consider this problem solved until we address the chain of command issue — and we should not rest until that day.
As President Obama said at a Marine Corps base last year, “It undermines what this military stands for and what the Marine Corps stands for when sexual assault takes place within our units.”
If we can pass this bill, it will be the kind of accomplishment that shows voters why Democrats need to keep our Senate majority. Passing the Military Justice Improvement Act isn’t just the right thing to do for our servicemen and -women, it’s important for all of us.
Thank you for your support,
- Learn her story. Then make sure enough people know about it to push the military brass to do the right thing.
- Protect Our Defenders and the Service Women’s Action Network on Facebook
- Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) Military Justice Improvement Act
- Tell Congress: Protect Victims of Military Sexual Assault