Today, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, chair of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, responded to the release of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Fiscal Year 2021 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military. The survey showed that 8.4% of active duty women and 1.5% of active duty men reported at least one unwanted sexual contact in the prior year, amounting to an estimated 35,900 total active duty service members – a disturbing rise from previous years.
For years, Senator Gillibrand has fought the DoD to fundamentally reform how it deals with sexual assault among its ranks. She earned bipartisan majority support for her bill, the Military Justice Improvement & Increasing Prevention Act, which was blocked from receiving a vote in the full U.S. Senate.
In response to today’s shocking numbers, Gillibrand said: “This data shows a military in a crisis. Nearly one in ten active duty women reported unwanted sexual contact during a single year, and that number rises to one in four when the service member experienced an unhealthy command climate involving sexual harassment. When service members cannot trust their leaders to uphold the values of our military services it means we are failing. Finally, the percentage of cases preferred for court-martial charges continues to drop. These results are completely unacceptable.
“We are betraying the trust of service members and their families and failing the most heroic among us. The current versions of the National Defense Authorization Act in Congress contain vital military justice reforms that I have fought for for nearly a decade, and they should be passed and enacted with the urgency this crisis demands.”
The DoD’s full report can be viewed here.