Protect Our Defenders News Blog


STATEMENT: House Armed Services Committee Adopts Sexual Assault Provisions Proposed by Protect Our Defenders


May 22, 2014 Contact: Brian Purchia,



POD Calls On Senate To Also Include Provisions

Washington DC – Today, the House of Representatives passed their version of the National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) for FY2015. Included in the bill are several provisions proposed by Protect Our Defenders (POD). POD worked closely in formulating these critical improvements with Congresswomen Speier (D-CA), who sponsored the amendments in the House. These amendments include:

(1) Limiting the “Good Military Character” defense to military-specific crimes, so that an accused rapist can no longer be found “not guilty” simply for being a good soldier;

(2) Guaranteeing victims the right to appeal adverse rulings regarding psychotherapist-patient privilege (Military Rule of Evidence (MRE) 513) and the rape shield rule (MRE 412), which protects information about a victim’s past sexual history; and

(3) Eliminating an exception to MRE 513, which military judges have routinely used as a loophole to justify turning over victims’ confidential therapy records to their alleged rapist.

Protect Our Defenders President Nancy Parrish today released the following statement:

“The amendments sponsored by Congresswoman Speier and included in the House FY15 NDAA will make the military justice system a less hostile experience for victims by ensuring that their privacy rights are adequately protected. They will also make certain that an accused rapist cannot use his military service record as justification for acquittal. These reforms will encourage more service members to come forward and cooperate in pursuing justice against their attackers, and will increase faith in the system.

“However, these reforms are a supplement—not a substitute—for true, fundamental reform. Our service members deserve an impartial justice system outside the chain of command, one that ensures victims receive a fair shot at justice.

“We call on the U.S. Senate to also pass these reforms. While not the ultimate solution, they are essential pieces of the fair and impartial judicial system that our brave men and women in uniform deserve.”

Federal News Radio: Despite increased reporting of sexual assaults, DoD still struggles to tackle issue

Associated Press: Pentagon punished nearly 500 for sexual harassment

Salon: Pentagon’s pathetic victory lap: Why its supposed military rape “solution” is just spin

Huffington Post: Kirsten Gillibrand Wants Meeting With Obama To Revive Military Sexual Assault Bill

About Protect Our Defenders: Protect Our Defenders is a human rights organization.  We seek to honor, support and give voice to the brave women and men in uniform who have been sexually assaulted while serving their country, and re-victimized by the military adjudication system – a system that often blames the victim and fails to prosecute the perpetrator. Learn more about Protect Our Defenders at or on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at

Protect Our Defenders partners with Attorney Susan Burke, Burke PLLC to advance lawsuits filed against the DoD and service academies for repeatedly ignoring rape, sexual assault and harassment, failing to prosecute perpetrators and retaliating against the victim.