Protect Our Defenders’ Call for Military Justice Reform Echoed by USA Today & Washington Post
By: Kate Helete — May 10, 2019
Earlier this month, the Pentagon released its Annual Report on Sexual Assault and Prevention (SAPR) in the Military. The report, which provides a yearly review of the state of sexual assault across the four branches of the military, shows reports of sexual assault skyrocketed from 14,900 to 20,500, or an increase of almost 38 percent since 2016. In that same amount of time, the risk of sexual assault doubled for women in the military.
Numbers like these are the reason why Riff City Strategies’ longtime client, Protect Our Defenders (POD), fights for sexual assault victims’ rights and changes to ensure a safe and healthy environment in the military. Two of the nation’s major news outlets – USA Today and The Washington Post – echoed POD’s call for action and finally reform the military justice system to ensure fairness and justice for all.
Check out the stories below.
Too many military leaders still don’t get it. Last year, USA TODAY Pentagon reporter Tom Vanden Brook uncovered instances of top-ranking officers still behaving like cads — including an Air Force brigadier general making sexually suggestive comments in public, a Marine brigadier general joking about his sex life during a town hall meeting, and a Marine major accused of sexually harassing female employees.
How can female airmen or Marines trust commanders like these? And why would a victim report a sexual assault in a military justice system where leaders like these decide whether prosecution goes forward?
The Pentagon has had plenty of time to deal with sexual misconduct. This latest report is yet more evidence of its inability to fix the system. Ms. Gillibrand is right: “It’s time for Congress to step up.”