Gillibrand: The Military Justice Improvement Act Would Give Service Members a Justice System That Works (July 1, 2019)

Brian Lewis MJIA.jpg

You can listen to U.S. Navy veteran Brian Lewis’ March 13, 2013 testimony to the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel here.

“Nearly 30 years ago, when George H. W. Bush was president and Dick Cheney was the secretary of defense, the Pentagon made a promise to our service members. Dozens of Navy and Marine Corps aviation officers had just been investigated for the infamous Tailhook sexual assault scandal, and America’s military leadership affirmed a “zero tolerance” policy toward sexual assault within their ranks. The military had a sexual assault problem, and pledged to solve it.

It’s painfully clear that the military has now failed at this mission by almost any metric. For years, survivor after survivor has told us the change in the system we needed to make to end this scourge — the same change that a number of our allies around the world have already made: take the adjudication of these crimes outside of the chain of command and allow trained military prosecutors to prosecute them.” Read more opinion at Military Times here.

“The Military Justice Improvement Act would take the prosecution of sexual assault and other serious crimes, such as murder, out of the chain of command. It would keep those crimes in the military justice system, but put the decision to prosecute them into the hands of actual military prosecutors who are trained to deal with complex legal issues.” –Senator Kirsten Gillbrand (Military Times, July 1, 2019)

Gillibrand Leads Bipartisan Coalition to Reform Military Justice System  -Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (May 16, 2013)

Related Links:
Pass the Military Justice Improvement Act @SenGillibrand
S. 1789: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2019
S. 1789: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2019 [Full Text]
Comprehensive Resource Center for the Military Justice Improvement Act
Sens. Cruz, Gillibrand Reintroduce Military Justice Improvement Act
Udall, Heinrich Reintroduce Military Justice Improvement Act To Address Crisis Of Military Sexual Assault
Leahy Joins Gillibrand And Others To Reintroduce Military Justice Improvement Act
Hirono Wants To Change How The Military Prosecutes Sexual Assault
Senator Martha McSally’s Responsibility to Survivors of Military Sexual Assault
McSally defends keeping military commanders involved in sexual assault cases
Gillibrand: “Status Quo” Not Working With Military Sexual Assaults
Veterans for Peace: Sexual Assault on Military Members Press Conference, Seattle, Washington (August 11, 2006)
Jamie Leigh Jones Testified at the House Judiciary Committee Halliburton/KBR Iraq Rape Case Hearing (December 19, 2007)
HOR Oversight Subcommittee on National Security & Foreign Affairs Held a Hearing on Sexual Assault in the Military (July 31, 2008)
Former Representative Bruce Braley (D-IA) Introduced the Holley Lynn James Act (April 12, 2011)
Lauterbach Case Prompts Policy Reforms for Victims of Sexual Assault in the Military (December 25, 2011)
Sexual Misconduct Allegations at Lackland AFB | C-SPAN (January 23, 2013)
Panetta Is Lifting Ban On Women In Combat Roles (NPR, January 23, 2013)
Sexual Assault in the Military, Part 1 | C-SPAN (March 13, 2013)
Sexual Assault in the Military, Part 2 | C-SPAN (March 13, 2013)
Gillibrand Leads Bipartisan Coalition to Reform Military Justice System [Full Video] | Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (May 16, 2013)
Gillibrand Builds Bipartisan Support for Change of Military Justice Code (May 16, 2013)
S. 967: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2013 – U.S. Senate Voting Record (March 6, 2014)
The war in Congress over rape in the military, explained (June 8, 2016)
Sexual Assault in the Military | C-SPAN (March 6, 2019)
S. 1789: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2019 Reintroduced by Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York (June 13, 2019)
Senate Armed Services Committee Members & House Armed Services Committee Members (June 21, 2019)
Gillibrand: The Military Justice Improvement Act Would Give Service Members a Justice System That Works (July 1, 2019)

DOD Releases Annual Report on Sexual Harassment & Violence at the Military Service Academies, Academic Program Year 2017-2018 (January 31, 2019)

Department of Defense“Today, the Department of Defense released the Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies, Academic Program Year 2017-2018…There were 117 reports of sexual assault received across all three academies. This is an increase of five from the prior academic program year, indicating confidence in response measures, however, surveyed measures of unwanted sexual contact and sexual harassment increased compared to rates last measured in 2016. There was also an overall increase in sexual harassment.” Read more here. -Department of Defense (January 31, 2019)

To view the full report, visit SAPR.mil.

Related Links:
DOD Releases Annual Report on Sexual Harassment & Violence at the Military Service Academies, Academic Program Year 2017-2018 (January 31, 2019)
Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies (MSAs) for Academic Program Year (APY) 2017-2018
USA Today publishes fake news story about sexual assault at the military academies | CAAFlog
Department of Defense Retaliation and Response Strategy (July 2017)
Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military (April 2018)
Department of Defense Instruction 6495.02 | Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Program Procedures

The Army Stands Ready to Investigate Any Reports & Allegations of Sexual Assault Going Back to 2000 or Earlier

Claim: Sexual assault victims punished and lose health care benefits as a result.

HRW claims in their report that many service members lose their military career after being sexually assaulted & they have discharge papers that prevent them from getting health benefits.

DoD rejected the conclusions of the HRW report.

DoD states “they have many victims of sexual assault who receive honorable discharges from the military. There is a policy in place that offers assistance for anyone that reports a sexual assault. It is critical every survivor is treated with sensitivity that they deserve.”

Media states that victim was raped multiple times while serving her country and that they contacted the DoD and Army about her case, a case from 15 years ago.

She states that she was military intelligence, had lots of prescreening prior to enlistment. Promising path, requested by Chain of Command to apply to West Point. After first rape in military, her promising path turned to being retaliated against, and there were two more rapes for reporting the rape. It ended career with an illegal, bogus, discharge. Decade and a half later, still fighting to correct it.

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What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

20140301-003103.jpgWhat is Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

When in danger, it’s natural to feel afraid. This fear triggers many split-second changes in the body to prepare to defend against the danger or to avoid it. This “fight-or-flight” response is a healthy reaction meant to protect a person from harm. But in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), this reaction is changed or damaged. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they’re no longer in danger.

PTSD develops after a terrifying ordeal that involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm. The person who develops PTSD may have been the one who was harmed, the harm may have happened to a loved one, or the person may have witnessed a harmful event that happened to loved ones or strangers.

PTSD was first brought to public attention in relation to war veterans, but it can result from a variety of traumatic incidents, such as mugging, rape, torture, being kidnapped or held captive, child abuse, car accidents, train wrecks, plane crashes, bombings, or natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes.

FMI from the National Institute of Mental Health, please click here.

Politico: McCaskill’s ‘lonely’ sex-assault stand (2013)

My Approved PortraitsSen. Claire McCaskill is on the verge of a historic victory reforming the Pentagon’s sexual assault policies.

But rather than basking in acclaim during the debate’s climatic week in the Capitol, the Missouri Democrat finds herself paying a political cost for being an outlier within her own caucus. She’s the only one of the Senate’s 16 Democratic women opposing a much more sweeping change that removes the chain of command from prosecuting sexual assault and other major military crimes.

Read more from Politico here.

“Dear @clairecmc Thanks 4 railroading the Military Justice Improvement Act. Is it true that you have never served a day in your life? #MJIA,” Jennifer Norris, a Maine-based Air Force veteran who works with sexual assault victims…tweeted, referring to Gillibrand’s legislative proposal by its official name. -Politico

Editor’s Note: It appears the original tweet has disappeared and it was never deleted by Jennifer Norris. Also the tweet is not on the web version of the article but is still part of the mobile version of the article.

Link

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Sexual assaults not scaring off female recruits

Rep. Jackie Speier has been telling every academy recruit she meets and their  parents the same thing for years — that sexual assault in the military is rampant.  But not a single woman she’s talked to has ever changed her mind about joining.

“This is a $400,000 scholarship,” said Speier (D-Calif.) of the academy  nominees. “On the one hand, they are weighing the savings to the family pocketbook, the extraordinary education and opportunities and then this  potential risk — and I think they are expecting us to protect their daughters.”

Read more here.

Tester, Pingree question Intelligence Director over security clearance reversal

Office of Director of NSALawmakers vow to continue fighting to protect survivors of sexual assault

Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) are demanding that the U.S. Director of National Intelligence once again eliminate a requirement that forces survivors of sexual assault in the military to declare whether they sought counseling for sexual trauma when applying for a security clearance.

Tester and Pingree successfully overturned the policy in April after hearing from veterans and service members from Montana and Maine, but the government reversed course in the final version of the security clearance questionnaire released this summer.

Before the change, job applicants seeking a security clearance had to list whether they had received mental health counseling as a result of a sexual assault, and if so, allow an investigator full access to their health records.

Veterans and veterans’ advocacy groups told Tester and Pingree the policy discouraged qualified service members from applying for important national security positions and discouraged them from getting the counseling they need. The Defense Department estimates that there may have been as many as 26,000 instances of “unwanted sexual contact” in 2012, with the vast majority of cases reported by women.

“We strongly urge you to reconsider this matter and reinstitute the explicit exemption for survivors of sexual assault,” Tester and Pingree told Intelligence Director James Clapper. “As you recognized in April, we need to do everything we can to support survivors of sexual assault – not keep them from getting the care they need or jeopardizing their ability to provide for themselves and their families.”

“Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) is grateful to Senator Tester and Congresswoman Pingree for their dedication to ensuring military sexual assault survivors’ careers are not stunted or adversely affected because they sought counseling to cope with the assault,” said Anu Bhagwati, SWAN executive director and former Marine Corps captain. “SWAN has already heard from service members that are confused by the recently removed exemption for military sexual assault survivors and are now hesitant to seek help. We urge Director Clapper to reinstate the explicit exemption for sexual assault survivors.”

Tester and Pingree have been in contact with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and other officials about the issue over the last two years. The officials responded by altering the security clearance questionnaire to better handle sensitive information, but Tester and Pingree sought a complete policy change.

There are multiple forms of counseling that do not impede an applicant from securing a security clearance, including family counseling and counseling for combat stress.

September 17, 2013: Letter to DNI Clapper (10/24/13 03:29 PM PST)

Original: http://pingree.house.gov/press-releases/tester-pingree-question-intelligence-director-over-security-clearance-reversal2/

Army Veteran Lilli Anna Moore of Rochelle, Illinois Died Suddenly (August 3, 2013)

Lilli Moore

Lilli Anna Moore, U.S. Army Veteran

Army veteran Lilli Anna Moore, 25, of Rochelle, Illinois died suddenly on August 3, 2013. According to her Facebook page, she was a graduate of Rochelle Township High School and a former 88M Motor Transport Operator for the U.S. Army. She studied chemistry at Elmhurst College and studied to be an Emergency Medical Technician at Kishwaukee Community College in Malta, Illinois.

NBC Bay Area: California Guard Tries to Serve Firing Papers to Member After Suicide Attempt (June 25, 2013)

Air National Guard SealThe California National Guard tried to serve termination papers to one of its members in the hospital just hours after a suicide attempt last month, the Investigative Unit has learned.

Those close to Jessica Brown, a master sergeant with Moffett Field’s 129th Rescue Wing, say they believe the move is retaliation for exposing what has been described as a toxic culture inside the Guard. Last November in front of NBC Bay Area cameras, Brown criticized her leaders for failing to properly handle a sexual assault she says happened to her while on duty in Las Vegas.

“To me, it felt like it would be better if I was dead,” Brown said in the November interview. “I didn’t want to do it, but I couldn’t handle it anymore. I wasn’t sleeping again, and when I did sleep the nightmares were so bad.” -NBC Bay Area

See NBC Bay Area video here.

Related Links:
NBC Bay Area: California National Guard Culture Questioned (November 14, 2012)
NBC Bay Area | Military Women: We Got Fired for Being Raped (August 21, 2014)
NBC Bay Area: California National Guard Military Sexual Assault Bill Becomes Law (August 21, 2014)

CBS News: Military cracks down on rampant sexual abuse

Jennifer NorrisCBS News: Former Air Force Sgt. Jennifer Norris, a rape victim, said, “Blaming a civilian hook-up culture for the epidemic does nothing but contribute to victim blaming, excusing perpetrators, and it belittles the serious nature of these crimes.”

She said the system is rigged against low-ranking service members. “Commanders who are responsible for the resolution of these cases are far too often biased in favor of the often higher-ranking perpetrators,” she said.

Norris spoke at a press conference at which Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and other members of Congress pushed legislation that would allow victims to bypass their commanders.

As far as how to make that happen, the senator said, “Allow them to report directly to a military lawyer, a trained prosecutor, someone who understands sexual assault, and is the one who will do the investigation and then decide whether or not to bring it to trial.”

Read more at CBS News here.