Video shows failure of Senate to protect military sex assault victims
The Agenda Project Action Fund has released a new video featuring testimony by men and women who were sexually assaulted while wearing the uniform of the U.S. military. The short clip also lists the names of the 17 U.S. Senators who voted down Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)’s proposal to take prosecution of sexual assaults out of military commanders’ hands in a bid to address the military’s culture of impunity around rape and sexual harassment.
Erica Payne, who produced the video, said in a statement, “What these 17 Senators have done to protect rapists is shameful. It is patently absurd to have anyone other than professional prosecutors decide how to pursue these predators and these Senators know that. The chain of command failed these soldiers, now the U.S. Senate is failing them too. Our military service women and men protect America, it’s time we protected them.”
The New York Times said of Gillibrand’s proposal that it would have fixed “a basic structural flaw in the military justice system that deters people from reporting assaults” by taking the responsibility for reporting and prosecuting sexual assaults out of military commanders’ hands and into the hands of independent investigators and civilian authorities.
The bill, which came before the Senate Armed Services Committee last week, was struck down in a motion by Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), head of the committee, which passed 17 to 9, removing the provision from the current defense spending bill. Gillibrand told the Times that she will continue to press for the measure’s inclusion.
Watch the video, embedded via YouTube, below: