The Military’s Rough Justice on Sexual Assault

by Rachel Baker on November 26, 2014

This is a worthwhile read. Thanks to Sen. Gillibrand, et al for all they’ve done towards keeping this issue in the spotlight.

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The Military’s Rough Justice on Sexual Assault.

The looming question today is whether these changes have actually reduced the number of sexual assaults, encouraged victims to come forward and ensured justice when they did. In December the Pentagon will release to the president and Congress the 2014 gender-relations report — a biennial in-depth and anonymous survey that is supposed to capture true numbers of sexual assaults. Military officials hope it will reflect significant improvement resulting from last year’s reforms. But several vocal skeptics on Capitol Hill doubt that these measures will prove sufficient. Many of these lawmakers are women — Representatives Niki Tsongas and Jackie Speier and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Claire McCaskill and Barbara Boxer — who became engaged with the issue after viewing “The Invisible War,” a revealing 2012 documentary on the subject, as well as having numerous private meetings with women and men in uniform who had been sexually assaulted. The stories the military officers have told tend to feature a common element — namely the favoritism that commanders exhibit toward the accused and a lack of sympathy toward those who report such offenses.

For this reason, Senator Gillibrand has led a legislative effort to remove prosecutorial authority from the military in sexual-assault cases and place it instead with an independent body. After consulting with Christensen, among many others, she wrote the Military Justice Improvement Act earlier this year; it came within five votes of passage in the Senate in March. Gillibrand expects that the new Pentagon statistics will persuade more senators to reconsider their trust in the military’s ability to police itself.

This article was written by: Rachel Baker – Click to Become a Patron or to follow on Twitter.

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