Below is a recap of top stories about stopping military sexual violence against service members and civilians.
POD Profiled by Michigan Radio
- Earlier this month Protect Our Defenders President, Col Don Christensen was interviewed by Michigan Radio’s “Stateside” about the crisis of sexual assault in the military and the work Protect Our Defenders is doing to end this epidemic. Col Christensen made it clear that Defense leadership has failed to send a clear message that sexual assaults will be handled seriously. Citing dismal conviction rates, he said, “The odds are astronomically in your favor that if you commit a sexual assault that you’ll never be held responsible.” [Michigan Radio]
Legislation Underway to Protect Male Victims of Sexual Assault
- In a Huffington Post op-ed, Reps. Michael Turner (R-Ohio) and Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.) urged their colleagues to keep legislation in the fiscal 2016 defense policy bill that would protect male victims of sexual assault. [Huffington Post]
- Their bill, the SUPPORT Act, requires the Department of Defense to better train and educate service members about how men are sexually assaulted, provides medical and mental health needs specific to male survivors, and the development of agency-wide metrics to research and combat male victimization. [The Hill]
General Shadley Testifies at Judicial Proceedings Panel
- Earlier this month, POD Advisory Board Member Major General Robert D. Shadley, U.S. Army (Ret.) spoke at a public meeting of the Judicial Proceedings Panel on Sexual Assault in the Military. Gen Shadley is responsible for uncovering and investigating the military sexual abuse scandal known as The GAMe at the U.S. Army Ordnance Center and Schools at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, where he served as its Commanding General.
- The hearing addressed issues related to Article 120, which criminalizes rape, sexual assault, and other sexual offenses in the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), and reviewed case studies of abuse of authority, and coercive sexual offenses in the training environment. [Read his remarks]
Protect Our Defenders endorsed the Military Sexual Assault Victims Empowerment Act (Military SAVE Act)
- Introduced by Rep. Andy Barr (KY-06), this legislation provides Military Sexual Trauma (MST) survivors with access to health care providers outside of the VA, who may be better equipped to address MST-related needs. It would allow all MST survivors, regardless of when they enrolled with the VA, to seek treatment at a non-VA facility.
- We delivered letters with your messages from our MJIA Thank You Letter to the Senators who voted in favor of the MJIA–either for the first time, or those who switched their vote in favor of reform. The letters thank the Senator’s for standing with survivors, and encourages them to help us in our fight for a healthy military justice system.
Seeing War Through the Eyes of a Veteran
- A powerful piece written by veteran Scott Beauchamp highlights some of the challenges whistleblowers face in the military for reporting assaults, including the constant threat of retaliation. [Al Jazeera]
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