Obama Signs Bill Calling For Tougher Measures Against Sexual Assault In Military
December 26, 2013
United States President Barack Obama signed a comprehensive defense bill today that includes new measures to prosecute and deter sexual assault cases in the U.S. Military. This bill marks a victory for Republican Senator Ted Cruz and Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand who have been spearheading a movement to bring voices to the victims of military sexual assault.
According to Cruz and Gillibrand, “According to the Defense Department, 3,374 cases of unwanted sexual contact were reported last year, resulting in just 302 trials and 238 convictions. Moreover, the Defense Department estimates there were nearly 23,000 additional cases of unwanted sexual contact that went unreported. That means, in total, there were 26,000 incidents of unwanted sexual contact – a 37% increase over the previous year.”
Days before this bill was signed, Obama issued a statement that read, “So long as our women and men in uniform face the insider threat of sexual assault, we have an urgent obligation to do more to support victims and hold perpetrators accountable for their crimes, as appropriate under the military justice system.” The military justice system previously allowed jury convictions of sexual assault cases to be overturned by commanding officers. This is no longer allowed under the new bill. In a statement released this morning, President Obama said he hopes the bill will “expand efforts to prevent sexual assault and strengthen protections for victims.”
Cruz, Ted and Kirsten Gillibrand. “Stop Sexual Assault In the Military”. USA Today.