Rep. Speier blasts ‘cancer’ of unaddressed military rapes
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) on Thursday said she was “sick of waiting for action” while she delivered her 23rd speech on the House floor condemning sexual harassment and rape in the U.S. military.
“I rise again today to talk about military sexual trauma,” she said. “It’s a cancer, it’s ubiquitous, it’s unabated and regrettably unaddressed.”
To call attention to the problem, she has been telling the stories of women who were sexually harassed and assaulted while serving in U.S military.
“At this very moment military training instructor Luis Walker stands before a court-martial for raping and assaulting recruits at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas,” Speier said. “Walker’s job is to train freshly minted new Air Force recruits, many of them still in their teens. In all there are 28 charges against him and 10 victims. Walker is a sexual predator.”
“Walker’s defense attorneys argue because the women never fully resisted, the sex was consensual,” she added. “Defense also argues that because the women never came forward to report the incident, they must not have felt victimized.”
Speier has introduced H.R. 3435, the STOP Act, which would create a new autonomous group within the military to handle the prosecution, reporting, investigation and all other aspects of a sexual assault case. Currently, those powers are exercised solely at the discretion of the unit commander.
“Walker is not the only predator charged, seven additional training instructors have been charged with sexual misconduct with trainees,” she said. “At least another five are under investigation. One instructor, staff sergeant Craig Leblanc, bragged his conquest to his colleagues who waited a month before they reported the incident. Out of loyalty the colleagues stayed quiet.”
Speier noted that she, along with a bipartisan group of 77 members of Congress, had called for a hearing on rape in the military, but had received no response.