April 30, 2018

Gillibrand Statement On Latest DoD Report On Sexual Assault In The Military

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today released the following statement on the Department of Defense’s latest report on sexual assault in the military:

“For over 20 years, every Secretary of Defense has pledged zero tolerance for sexual assault in the military. Last week, Secretary Mattis specifically called sexual assault in the ranks a ‘cancer.’ Today’s FY17 SAPRO report may come with new platitudes from the DoD, but the end result is unchanged.

“Last year, 6,769 brave service members reported being sexually assaulted. This is a marked increase from the previous year, but amazingly we see a decrease in the percentage of cases that actually proceeded to trial and another decrease in the percentage of cases that ended in conviction. Worse yet, 70 percent of survivors surveyed say they had a negative experience associated with reporting sexual assault.

“This SAPRO report released by DoD today shows that more sexual predators are getting off the hook and fewer survivors are getting the justice they deserve. While reports might be up, accountability for sexual assault offenders is going down.

“Despite the fact that it is clear that sexual assault survivors rightfully do not have confidence in the current military justice system, Congress has allowed this lack of accountability to continue by refusing to pass legislation to professionalize and modernize the way sexual assault cases are prosecuted. We must pass the bipartisan Military Justice Improvement Act to give survivors confidence in the system and create a military justice system worthy of their sacrifice.”