Here’s your monthly digest of top news on our fight against sexual assault in the military.
New Whistleblower Legislation
- Yesterday, Sens. Boxer, Wyden, and Markey introduced a bill to protect those who blow the whistle on military wrongdoings, including sexual abuse. “Servicemembers who bravely speak out about wrongdoing or misconduct — especially sexual assault survivors — deserve to know that they will be protected from retaliation,” Boxer said. [Defense One]
- Rep. Speier also filed the bill as an amendment in the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
NPR: When Civilians Accuse Troops of Rape, Military Courts Often Decide
- Brittany Bentz reported that she was sexually assaulted at the age of 16 by a U.S. Air Force member. As civilians, she and her mother, Melinda, were shocked by their treatment in the military legal system, reports NPR.
- As I explained in the story: “The court martial process is unlike any other criminal process in this country. It’s confusing enough for military members who go through the process. But for a civilian who has no ties to the military, it is like entering another world.” [National Public Radio]
- We connected NPR’s Quil Lawrence with the Bentz family and found them a lawyer through our Pro Bono Network.
Video: Air Force song book and justice reform
- Last month, we joined attorney Susan Burke when she announced her new lawsuit which included evidence of shockingly misogynistic Air Force songbooks.. I spoke to MSNBC about why the books are still a problem and explained how the military legal system is inherently conflicted. [MSNBC]
- MSNBC asked me what I would tell parents whose daughters want to enter into service. My response is at the end of the video.
Madeleine Albright joins our Advisory Board
- Two weeks ago, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright joined POD’s Advisory Board. [Press Release]
- Over 1,000 citizens and survivors have since signed our thank you letter to Dr. Albright. If you have not yet, add your name and a personal comment, and we’ll deliver the letter in May. [Letter]
Leader of Maryland National Guard speaks out
- Linda Singh, the first African American woman to serve as Maryland’s adjutant general, says her experiences as a victim shape her leadership. “She hopes that publicly sharing her own experiences might help keep other victims from blaming themselves.” [Washington Post]
Sexual Assault Series wins Peabody
- Scripps’ “Under the Radar” series investigated problems that occur when service members who are convicted of sex crimes re-enter civilian life. POD worked closely with Scripps during their investigation and last week, Scripps received a Peabody Award for the series. [Scripps]