Sunday, June 02, 2013

Combating Military Sexual Assault

Senator Patty Murray

Senator Patty Murray (above), the Chair of the Senate Budget Committee, and Senator Kelly Ayotte are sponsoring a bill "Combating Military Sexual Assault (MSA) Act of 2013." Senator Murray's spoke on the Senate floor about the bill (you can stream that here).  Friday, her office noted:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                           CONTACT: Murray Press Office
Friday, May 31, 2013                                                                           (202) 224-2834

More Information on Military Sexual Assault


Sen. Murray meets with military sexual assault survivors & advocates in Seattle today. (Photo: Murray Press Office)

Senator Murray’s legislation to reduce sexual assaults within the military and provide greater resources to the victims of this crime, the Combating Military Sexual Assault Act of 2013: Legislation, Summary, Cosponsors

Follow the conversation on Twitter with @PattyMurray & #CombatMSA


“The services have struggled for decades with pervasive sexual assault in the ranks. SWAN has been at the forefront of demanding institutional changes that would help improve this crisis and transform military culture. The Combating Military Sexual Assault Act introduced today by Senator Patty Murray and Senator Kelly Ayotte contains many provisions that will give the military the tools it needs to combat this widespread problem. Common-sense solutions like providing victims with their own designated lawyers, criminalizing sexual relationships between basic training instructors and students, and making sure that our National Guard troops have access to the same resources that active duty service members have are critical in making sure that survivors are supported and that offenders will be better prosecuted."
-Anu Bhagwati, Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) Executive Director 

“The 380,000 member Military Officers Association of America strongly endorses the Combating Military Sexual Assault Act of 2013. Preventing sexual assault is a duty of everyone in the chain of command.  This legislation will increase support for sexual assault victims and strengthen policies and procedures for such cases in our nation’s Armed Forces.”
-MOAA national President, VADM Norb Ryan, USN-ret. 

“The Association of the United States Navy strongly support the Combating Military Sexual Assault Act. The number of sexual assault cases is unacceptable and reflects the need for immediate action as the Department of Defense has reported.  This bill will help set in place the right oversight and stronger processes needed to protect our Sailors, men and women.”
-AUSN Executive Director, RADM Casey Coane, USN-ret.

"In light of the Pentagon's announcement that an estimated 26,000 cases of sexual assault occurred in the military in 2012 alone, the Combating Military Sexual Assault Act of 2013 is a necessary step to protect victims and hold perpetrators accountable. The effects in our culture of victim-blaming, cover-up and misogyny goes far beyond individual cases of criminal justice to be pervasive throughout the military. Survivors of military rape should have all the means they need to recover from their trauma, and the CMSA's provisions will help ensure these resources are available. NOW is glad to support Sens. Murray & Ayotte's legislation in the hope that it will improve the lives of the millions of female (and male) members of the military.”
 -Terry O’Neill, National Organization for Women President
“The special victims counsels have helped...typically it's 30 percent, as I mentioned, of our victims who won't -- continue through prosecution, even after making an unrestricted report. So far, the 265 assigned special victims counsels, two have done that. That's a great trend. We must now continue it. One of the other problems we have is that we have never had people who make restricted reports initially change from a restricted to unrestricted at a very high rate so that we can investigate and potentially prosecute those cases. About 17 percent of our reportees in the past have changed from a restricted mode to an unrestricted. Of the victims who have special victims counsel assigned, that number is tracking at 55 percent right now. And it's rising slowly as confidence grows. We have to continue that trend.”
-General Mark Welsh, U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff, 5/8/13

A strategy to combat military sexual assaults
By: Sen. Patty Murray and Sen. Kelly Ayotte
May 22, 2013 09:33 PM EDT
When our best and brightest don a U.S. military uniform, they do so with the understanding that they will sacrifice much to defend our country from dangerous threats. But they shouldn’t have to face a threat from within their own ranks.
Twice in two weeks, the very people in the military who are responsible for protecting victims of sexual assault have been accused of committing these crimes. These incidents are disturbing — and the secretary of defense must act swiftly to re-examine sexual assault services across the department. It is also time for Congress to enact legislation that gives victims the protections they deserve to seek justice and provides the Pentagon with the necessary tools to deal with this growing crisis. When a service member fails to live up to our values and commits sexual assault, we must ensure he or she is held accountable and that victims can come forward without fear of retribution.
[. . .]


Meghan Roh
Press Secretary | New Media Director
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
Mobile: (202) 365-1235
Office: (202) 224-2834


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