A New York senator introduced a bill Thursday that aims to remove sex crimes from the military’s chain of command — a bid to transform an insulated culture that tends to dampen sex-assault reporting, leaving many victims feeling helpless or hopeless.
Under the Pentagon’s current justice system, less than 1 percent of accused sexual perpetrators in the military were convicted last year while during 2012 just 9.8 percent of sex-assault victims reported the incidents, according to a Department of Defense report. Many victims feel powerless because their superiors can control everything from whether a case proceeds to whether a guilty verdict is eventually overturned.
“When the officer in charge of preventing sexual assault in their ranks is himself arrested for sexual assault — clearly, the strategy we have in place is not working. Twice in just the last two weeks this has happened,” Gillibrand said.