Though the National Defense Authorization Act will be passed with no amendments, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has also introduced the Military Justice Improvement Act, which would remove prosecution of sexual assault from the military chain of command, as a stand-alone bill, and she says she will continue to fight for its passage.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s renewed push comes on the heels of a new poll reporting that six in ten Americans support letting independent prosecutors, rather than the chain of command, decide whether to prosecute cases of sexual assault and other serious non-military crimes.
The former head of the U.S. Air Force’s sexual assault prevention branch was acquitted Wednesday of assaulting a young woman outside a Virginia bar.
While Fox News has devoted extensive airtime to pushing scandals that have since begun to fall apart, it has largely ignored new allegations of sexual assault in the military.
As a former civilian social worker for the Air Force, I cannot help but weigh in on the national debate about how to reform the Department of Defense’s sexual assault policies.
Military rapes and sexual assaults are ignored and if not ignored so callously prosecuted within the Military Code of Justice as to suggest that rape is nothing more than a minor infraction deserving of little punishment, if any.
The military is fond of parading tokens of femininity, but is less appreciative of and less willing to accommodate women’s actual service.
The military already has manuals and PowerPoints on preventing and addressing sexual assault within its ranks. What it needs now is to transform these into lifestyle changes in the everyday treatment of women who report sexual assaults.
At recent Congressional hearings on sexual assault in the military, the Department of Defense prevented its sexual assault prevention program director from testifying.