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WAND Women Leaders Speak Out on Military Sexual Violence

Military Sexual Violence

A sampling of WAND’s Women leaders in Congress statements and legislation, May 7-20, 2013:


SENATE (listed in alphabetical order)

Sen. Barbara Boxer (CA) (@SenatorBoxer): 5/16/13 Leg. Announced (Military Justice Improvement Act); 5/7/13 Statement

“It is horrifying that the number of sexual assaults in our armed forces rose so dramatically last year …When 26,000 of our brave men and women are victims of sexual assault each year, we have a crisis that demands a robust and comprehensive response. We can start by fundamentally changing the way the military investigates and prosecutes these heinous crimes, and Senator Gillibrand and I will introduce legislation next week to do just that.”


Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) (@SenGillibrand): 5/16/13 Leg. Announced; (Military Justice Improvement Act);  5/14/13 Statement

“America is home to the world’s best and brightest, brave men and women who join the armed services for all the right reasons – to serve our country, defend all that we hold sacred, and make America’s military the best the world has ever known….But too often, these brave men and women find themselves in the fight of their lives not off on some far-away battlefield, but right here on our own soil, within their own ranks and commanding officers, as victims of horrific acts of sexual violence. Our bipartisan bill takes this issue head on by removing decision-making from the chain of command, and giving that discretion to experienced trial counsel with prosecutorial experience where it belongs. That’s how we will achieve accountability, justice and fairness.”


Sen. Barbara Mikulski (MD) (@SenatorBarb): 5/16/13 Legislation Announced (Military Justice Improvement Act)

"I'm volcanic about sexual assault in our military ranks. From Tailhook to Fort Hood, sexual assault is not an isolated incident, it is a systemic and persistent problem…It's time for real action. This legislation will help change the culture in our fighting forces. It will ensure that victims of sexual assault are not victimized again by commanders that look the other way. Our fighting women and men in uniform need to know they have a government and leadership on their side, and that sexual assault, rape and abuse will not be tolerated."


Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (NH) (@SenatorShaheen): 5/15/13 Letter to Hagel; 5/9/13 DoD letter

“We have an obligation to act and to act now to address sexual assault in the military.  This is too urgent of an issue and we've seen one too many reports about this crisis in recent weeks. We must do everything in our power to address this crisis and I’m committed to working with my colleagues to make that goal a reality.”


HOUSE (listed in alphabetical order)

Rep. Cheri Bustos (IL-17) (@RepCheri): 5/10/13 Support of Bill Announced

“It is absolutely unconscionable that so many of our brave service members are victims of sexual assault, yet don’t report these crimes for fear of being punished or ostracized.”


Rep. Susan Davis (CA-53) (@RepSusanDavis): 5/15/13 Statement on Assault & DoD Response; 5/8/13 Statement on Sexual Assault Report

“Sexual assault is a serious enemy.  It is in direct opposition to the core principles of our armed forces, it undermines confidence and readiness, and it is attacking our greatest, asset our men and women in uniform.  We must defeat this enemy and we must do it now.”


Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (NH-02) (@RepAnnieKuster5/16/13 Push for Assault Hearing5/15/13 Recap of House Floor Speech5/8/13 Vote for Improved Veteran Services

“Sexual assault in the military has reached a crisis point. A recent report from the DOD found that the number of service members who have experienced unwanted sexual contact has increased by more than 30% over the past two years – from 19,000 to 26,000 people…These numbers are staggering – but they’re more than just statistics. Behind every number is the story of a member of our armed services who stepped forward to serve our country.”


Rep. Jackie Speier (CA-14) (@RepSpeier): 5/14/13 Statement on Sexual Assault in Military; 4/17/13 Introduction of Legislation

“Another sex scandal rocks the military….Congress has been an enabler of sexual assault by not demanding that these cases be taken out of the chain of command.  We owe it to every young man and woman in this country who serves to guarantee that they will not fall victim to sexual predators in the service.  Under the present system, we cannot make good on that guarantee.  I have had enough.  Please let every member of the House Armed Services Committee know that you are fed up too.”


Rep. Niki Tsongas (MA-03) (@nikiinthehouse(co-chair of military sexual assault caucus): 5/20/13 Coast Guard STRONG Act; 5/17/13 Reaction to Obama Joint Chief Mtg; 5/8/13 BE SAFE Act; 5/7/13 Response to Hagel5/7/13 Response to DoD FY2012 report

“It has become painfully evident in recent weeks that saying the U.S. military has a cultural problem in regard to sexual assault and sexual misconduct, is a glaring understatement. At worst, this is a deep-rooted and widespread acceptance of unprofessional, inappropriate and criminal behavior. At best, it is willful denial or head-turning on the part of too many military leaders.”

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