The day after Christmas, President Obama signed a defense bill with provisions to curb sexual assault in the U.S. military. Under the new law, anyone who engages in sexual assault will face dishonorable discharge, commanders are prevented from reversing jury decisions, legal assistance will be provided for victims, and “retaliation” against a victim will be punished.
This is good news, especially considering what was revealed in my earlier post. And as I reported then, the number of unreported sexual assaults is staggering.
According to the Department of Defense, roughly 86 percent of assaults go unreported, as victims fear punishment — including job termination — for speaking out.
For some this new law does not go far enough.
Although the bill is considered a positive development, many argue the newly instated regulations are not drastic enough. In contrast to Sen. Gillibrand’s Military Justice Improvement Act, which called for independent authorities to oversee and prosecute assault claims, the new bill still grants victims’ commanders the power to hear assault claims and administer punishment — a policy that often leads to inaction or failure to hold perpetrators accountable.
I agree that more needs to be done, however I find it very positive that at least this much has been accomplished, and hopefully there will be bipartisan support to do muhc more in the future.
Personally I think that protecting our service men and women from unwanted sexual contact should be something that we ALL can agree is a good thing.