Protect Our Defenders News Blog


Military Sexual Assault Victim Advocates Recognized for Their Efforts

San Francisco’s local ABC affiliate recently aired a “Beyond the Headlines” piece on military sexual assault with Protect Our Defenders Founder & CEO Nancy Parrish, Rep. Jackie Speier, sexual assault survivor Heath Phillips, 2016 Protect Our Defenders Justice Award Winners Cacilia Kim and Elizabeth Kristen, and myself.

You can also watch additional interviews of Ms. Kim and Ms. Kristen, Heath Phillips, and myself.

American Bar Association Panel

Last month, I spoke on a panel presented by the American Bar Association with other military and legal experts about the Pentagon’s recent legislative proposal to Congress on changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). The Pentagon’s legislation is its first major military justice proposal in over 30 years, but it falls short of achieving fundamental change. I discussed the nuances of the bill, both its positive aspects and its many shortcomings, and countered the narrative that the proposal was comprehensive. In particular, the legislation is silent on the role of commanders and fails to transform military justice into a fair and impartial justice system for our servicemembers. The panel was moderated by James Baker, (ret.) Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.

Protect Our Defenders Founder Receives Social Courage Award

In February, Nancy Parrish, our founder, was presented with the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage. This prestigious prize, established by the Georgia Institute of Technology, honors those who have made a positive difference in the world by standing up for moral principles.

You can watch Nancy’s full remarks from the awards ceremony here.

On accepting the award, Nancy said, “Our work is rooted in a passion and commitment to legal and cultural change to end this epidemic, and a commitment to justice and dignity for survivors of sexual assault. We are driven by the belief that all people, including the men and women who have signed up to serve and protect our citizens, deserve access to equal, impartial and effective justice – whether they are the victim or the accused.”

Photojournalist Puts a Human Face on Military Sexual Assault

Photojournalist Mary F. Calvert is committed to using photography to affect meaningful social change and is known for producing work on gender-based, human rights issues. Last month, Mary was awarded 1st Prize for Long Term Projects in the 2016 World Press Photo competition for her moving photo series, “Sexual Assault in America’s Military.”

Read more about Mary’s award here.

Protect Our Defenders applauds all of the work Mary has done through her photography to bring attention to the epidemic of sexual assault in the military.

Photos from Protect Our Defenders’ First Annual Justice Awards!

Earlier this year, Protect Our Defenders awarded the first two annual Protect Our Defenders Justice Awards. The inaugural annual awards were given to two attorneys from the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center (LAS-ELC), Cacilia Kim, Special Counsel, and Elizabeth Kristen, Director of their Gender Equity & LGBT Rights Program, for their remarkable efforts on behalf of military sexual assault survivors through our Pro Bono Network.

Click here to see photos from the event.

Thanks for your support. We will continue to keep you updated throughout the year.