Say No to Sexual Assault in the Military
July 10, 2013 Victims of military sexual assault often feel hopeless. Advocates, watching the pain victims of military sexual assault endure, demand that the military enforce discipline and order. Congress is listening. According to the 2012 Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office report released recently by the Defense Department, an estimated 26,000 cases of sexual assault occurred last year, a 37 percent increase from 2011! The President, Pentagon officials and top military leaders promise to try harder, but all the promises in the world mean nothing unless there is bias-free investigation, prosecution and freedom from fear of retribution. We must demand action, not just words and promises. Call your Ohio Senators now and ask them to support justice for survivors! Find your Senators’ phone numbers here.
The House passed the National Defense Reauthorization Act (NDAA) and the Senate Armed Services Committee has also passed its version of the NDAA in June. While both measures include important new provisions to protect victims, neither goes far enough. The Senate bill will come to the floor either at the end of July or in September after the August recess, and we can use our voices to make these improvements even stronger. The best way to do that is to ask Senators to co-sponsor the Military Justice Improvement Act, S. 967, led by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and 33 bipartisan co-sponsors (see list below). Senator Gillibrand intends to add her bill as an amendment to NDAA on the Senate floor in order to ensure that professional military prosecutors are responsible for investigating and prosecuting sexual assault cases. It should NOT be handled by the perpetrator’s commanding officer, which can result in conflicts of interest and abuse of power. This bill sends a strong message to the Senate to add this important provision to the NDAA before final passage.
We must stand with Senator Gillibrand and our other champions in Congress who are demanding that the military protect and defend those who put their lives on the line to protect us.
ACTION ITEM 1): CONTACT YOUR SENATORS AND ASK THEM TO CO-SPONSOR THE MILITARY JUSTICE IMPROVEMENT ACT!
Find your Senators Brown and Portman phone numbers here.
When you call, be sure to ask to speak to the staff person who handles military/defense legislation and say:
· I am a constituent from [city and state] and my name is _________. I urge Senator [insert name] to co-sponsor S. 967, The Military Justice Improvement Act, which will hold perpetrators of sexual assault accountable for their actions and provide victims of military sexual assault access to safety and justice.
· Thank the staffer for their time. Don’t forget to call back and contact your other Senator!
Resources for your call:
ACTION ITEM 2): TWEET YOUR SENATORS
Find your Senators’ Brown and Portman Twitter handles here.
[insert Twitter handle] Protect those who protect our country! Support the Military Justice Improvement Act. #militarysexualassault #EndMilitaryRape #MJIA
[insert Twitter handle] Victims of sexual assault in the military deserve safety & justice. Support S. 967 #militarysexualassault #MJIA #NotInvisible
For more information, fact sheets, press coverage, support letters, and updates visit www.4vawa.org. Follow us on Twitter at @NTFVAWA and “like” our Facebook page! If you aren’t on one of this email list or want to add members of your staff or state/community leaders to our grassroots alerts e-mail list, send names and contact information including email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Making a phone call to the Senator’s state or WDC office is the prime way to lobby on any issues (short of talking to the Senator at an event or meeting). It is especially important to get to know the staff person handling your issue(s) and gaining their trust and reliance on you and your colleagues for info and fact sheets, etc.
BUT sometimes we all just want something to sign or an email to Senators Brown and Portman. For Military Sexual Assault, NOW’s recent alert offers you this option – click on this: Remove Prosecution of Sexual Assault from Military Chain of Command