Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand released the following statement today in response to President Obama’s comments on addressing sexual assault in the military:
“I appreciate the President’s deep commitment to solving the sexual assault crisis in the military. I had the opportunity to speak with President Obama yesterday on the topic and look forward to working with the President and Secretary of Defense moving forward. However, my immediate focus will remain on earning the votes to pass the fundamental reform needed to address the fact that last year alone an estimated 23,000 sexual assault victims lacked the confidence to report their attacks out of fear their chain of command would not act – or worse yet – retaliate against them. I do not want to wait another year to enact the one reform survivors have asked for in removing commanders with no legal training and conflicts of interest from the decision of whether or not to prosecute a rape or sexual assault. We have the best fighting force in the world and they deserve a first class justice system. Nowhere in America do we allow a boss to decide if an employee was sexually assaulted or not, except the United States military. We owe our service members better.”
Senator Gillibrand’s Military Justice Improvement Act enjoys bipartisan support from a majority of the Senate, plus the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Vietnam Veterans of America, Service Women’s Action Network, Protect our Defenders, the Department of Defense’s own DACOWITS panel, the National Women’s Law Center and a growing chorus of retired military generals and commanders, including Lieutenant General (Ret.) Claudia Kennedy, the first woman ever to reach the rank of three-star general in the U.S. Army.
Learn more about who supports the Military Justice Improvement Act at www.gillibrand.senate.gov/mjia