We can’t stand for this.
More than one in five military women said in a recent Pentagon survey that they were victims of unwanted sexual contact. Last year, there were an estimated 26,000 instances of sexual assault, the majority of which went unreported.
Just yesterday, I held a roundtable in Manchester with servicemembers and experts to talk about this crisis. One promising solution I'm cosponsoring is the bipartisan Military Justice Improvement Act. This legislation would move the decision to prosecute from the chain of command to an experienced, impartial prosecutor.
The Senate is set to consider this bill very soon. In order to get it passed, I need you to speak out and ensure Congress hears our outrage over this injustice.
These men and women serve our country. They shouldn’t have to fear their fellow soldiers will harm them, and that their commanding officers won’t defend them.
A few weeks ago, a court-martial was scheduled for two Naval Academy midshipmen accused of sexually assaulting a fellow officer. The alleged victim initially remained silent, but ultimately decided to speak out.
And for her courage, she was subjected to a brutal, degrading cross-examination that lasted more than 30 hours and involved graphic questions about her assault.
We should admire her bravery, but it’s impossible to fault the majority of victims that remain silent. I know from my conversations with victims that many choose not to report because they fear reprisals and worry about a broken military justice system that’s biased against victims.
We have to take action to protect victims and ensure they get justice. Please stand with my colleagues and me now and demand justice for our servicemembers.