Protect Our Defenders News Blog


Huffington Post: It Is Time to Change the Culture of the Military and Change Attitudes About Sexual Assault

Tailhook whistleblower and Protect Our Defenders Advisory Board Member Paula Coughlin writes an op-ed for the Huffington Post:

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s bipartisan MJIA amendment proposed for this Senate session does exactly that: it makes rape, assault, and failure to forward any complaint to the third party investigating unit a crime. It does hold commanders accountable, and it gives commanders the exact tools to convict criminals in the military. It empowers commanders to rid the armed services of serial rapists and criminals by using the JAG corps professional assault crimes unit, a third party legal professional would handle all assaults and rapes.

The Senate must act in a responsible and effective way that can put a stop to the criminal assaults that are weakening the fabric of our military. Sen. Gillibrand’s amendment does this, and no other proposals actually address this point of command influence and bias, and the lack of professional legal training.

In the several years since my attack and subsequent character attacks, in all the horror stories I have been witness to, no victim would ever support keeping the criminal investigation or adjudication in the hands of their commander. And most commanders would want to be removed from this kind of criminal process for lack of training. It is time to change the culture of the military and change the attitudes about sexual assault. I wholeheartedly urge our Senators Nelson and Rubio to support MJIA. Because, that’s not what you get.

Read more here.