In the weeks after the Pentagon announced that an estimated 26,000 people were sexually assaulted in the military last year—an increase of 36% from 2011—three high-ranking officers charged with their branch's sexual assault prevention program were themselves charged with assault or harassment. More recently, the Pentagon announced that it had suspended 60 sexual assault counselors, recruiters and drill instructors for engaging in illicit behavior, some of which involved sexual assault.
The revelations reflect what the numbers have already made clear: the military has been grossly negligent in creating a culture where victims of sexual assault can seek justice. Of the thousands of instances of sexual assault last year, 90% went unreported.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York has introduced the Military Justice Improvement Act of 2013, a bill that would remove responsibility for prosecuting sex crimes out of the military's chain of command. As Senator Gillibrand said, "When any single victim of sexual assault is forced to salute her attacker, clearly our system is broken." Write to your representatives now and implore them to support the Military Justice Improvement Act of 2013.
Marine Ariana Klay, who brought a lawsuit against the US Military after she was raped. (The Invisible War).
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