Justice for Military Sexual Trauma Victims: Pass the Military Justice Improvement Act S.967 #MJIA
  • Petitioning President of the United States
  • Responded

This petition will be delivered to:

President of the United States
U.S. Senate
U.S. House of Representatives
New York
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
See response
New Jersey
Sen. Robert Menendez
See response
Florida-18
Rep. Patrick Murphy
See response

Justice for Military Sexual Trauma Victims: Pass the Military Justice Improvement Act S.967 #MJIA

    1. Teresa Youngs
    2. Petition by

      Teresa Youngs

      Santa Clara,, CA

Of the 26,000 sexual assaults in 2012, only 3,374 were reported and only 302 were brought to trial. I am a retired U.S. Navy Veteran and Military Sexual Trauma (MST) survivor. And like many other victims in the military, I was harassed, and humiliated by my Chain of Command after reporting my abuse. But a bipartisan bill before the U.S. Senate right now can completely change how sexual assaults in the military are handled - the Military Justice Improvement Act. 

As it stands now, any U.S. Military personnel, male or female, who are sexually assaulted or harassed are at the mercy of their own Commanding Officers who have full jurisdiction and discretion in prosecuting these cases. In many of the cases the perpetrator is not prosecuted while the victim is treated as the criminal, ostracized and harassed by their own command and often their military service stands in jeopardy. This is why so many assaults go unreported.

Even though I was raped while in the Navy, my case it is a story of command harassment.  During a 5 year period I was harassed, by my command because the Maintenance Officer didn't want "women in his Navy".  Between being raped and continuously harassed I was diagnosed with PTSD in 2001.  I was raped and it was traumatizing, but the most devastating thing was the Command Harassment.

The Military Justice Improvement Act (S. 967) changes this by taking the Commanding Officer out of the case and providing a specialized legal group in charge of investigating and prosecuting these cases. complete power over you night and day. This is a common sense step that our closest allies, including the UK, Canada, Australia and Israel, have made to their militaries. 

The Military Justice Improvement Act has bipartisan support but needs more votes to pass and it will be voted on this week. Your Senator needs to hear from you about this important bill now! 

I spent 20 years trying to run away from the hell the Navy put me though. I was told that all of my problems were between my ears. They tried to Court Marshal me, they harassed me on a daily basis, and when I was transferred the harassment continued because my perpetrator picked up the phone and had me labeled a troublemaker before I even checked in. If the Military Justice Improvement Act had been passed then, that wouldn't have happened to me. 

Help us get the word to Congress that the rape culture in the military is still prevalent.  Tell them we will no longer allow our men and women in the military to be raped, tell them that we WILL hold them accountable. 

I am taking a stand against the unjust persecution of my bother and sisters that are victims of MST and harassment. Please join me by asking your Senator to support the Military Justice Improvement Act. 

Recent signatures

    News

    1. It's Summer Time

      Teresa Youngs
      Petition Organizer

      Hello, I hope you are having a wonderful summer full of fun and exciting things, but while everyone is having fun in the sun we are still working on passing this important legislation. We are doing media events, talking to people and working behind the scenes to educate people on the need to take sexual trauma cases out of the chain of command.

      So, while you are out and about and mingling this summer, please tell people about our efforts and share this petition with them.

      Thank you and stay safe

    2. Senate Filibuster

      Teresa Youngs
      Petition Organizer

      Did you see the news? Today the United States Senate filibustered justice for military sexual assault survivors. Please know that we are not giving up, we are just as committed today as we have ever been. Our men and women in uniform are looking to us to provide them with a safe environment where they can report abuse, harassment, assault, rape and other capital crimes.

      We are gaining ground and hopefully we will have exciting news in the next 2 months which we will share with you. We are not letting today’s events slow us down. We are marching forward and ask that you continue standing with us in this most important fight. Please write, call, email, twitter your Congressional representatives, join us in the 26,000 Letter Project and tell your friends and loved ones that we need their help as well.

      Thank each and every one of you for adding your voice.

    3. Decision-maker Kirsten Gillibrand responds:

      Kirsten Gillibrand

      I wanted to alert you to the need for urgent action to help pass the Military Justice Improvement Act. We are expecting a vote on the Senate floor perhaps as soon as tomorrow. We need you all to join with survivors of sexual assault and m...


    4. GOP Senator Blocks Votes On Military Sexual Assault To Push Iran Sanctions

      Teresa Youngs
      Petition Organizer

      I'm sad to say that does not surprise me. Please join me in telling Congress that we will never stop until MJIA is passed and signed by the President.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/24/jerry-moran-military-sexual-assault_n_4849760.html

      GOP Senator Blocks Votes On Military Sexual Assault

      Posted: Print Article WASHINGTON -- Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, blocked a bid Monday to vote on bills to combat sexual assault in the military, saying he wanted a vote on Iran sanctions in return. Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)

    5. To Those that Suffer

      Teresa Youngs
      Petition Organizer

      It breaks my heart when I read comments from those that have suffered Military Sexual Trauma. I realize that sometimes help may not be available through the VA. I urge those people or anyone else to not give up - join our Facebook page @ youngsterri, where you will find those that may have answers to your challenges.

      If you are a friend or family member of someone that has had this happen to them, we also invite you to join us.

      If you have been turned down http://www.nvlsp.org/ may be able to help.

      Again - do not give up and you are not alone.
      Together we WILL fight this!

      Terri Youngs
      U.S. Navy Retired

      NVLSP

      NVLSP is a nonprofit organization that has worked since 1980 to ensure that the government delivers to our nation's 25 million veterans and active duty personnel the benefits to which they are entitled.

    6. Just a Quick Note

      Teresa Youngs
      Petition Organizer

      I have received several friend requests that for some reason I have been unable to respond to. I can be reached at my Facebook page: youngsterri. Don't forget the s at the end of Youngs.

    7. MJIA Vote Update

      Teresa Youngs
      Petition Organizer

      I want to thank each and every one of you for taking part in our endeavor to pass the Military Justice Improvement Act. The vote has been pushed back and may take place after the Presidents day holiday. I really don't see this getting passed in this session but we will continue every day to push until it becomes the law of the land.

      I know that many of you are asking "what more can I do" and I am pleased to tell you that we are now working on the 26,000 letter project. The aim of this project is to deliver 26,000 letters (one for each sexual assault reported in 2012) to each leader in Congress. Can you imagine that many letters landing on their desk at one time? We are hoping that this will deliver a powerful message.

      Please join us by downloading the forms, filling out the quick 40 question form and dropping it in the mail. We will take care of the rest and will keep you informed on our progress.

      http://www.26000letterproject.com/

      We hope to see you there.

      Again, thank yo

      26000 Letter Project

      For veterans who were sexually assaulted or raped or sexually harassed while on active duty, and the people who care about them. We hope to have a letter for every congress person and senator on Capitol Hill.

    8. Decision-maker Kirsten Gillibrand responds:

      Kirsten Gillibrand

      Teresa, thank you for telling your story and for making your voice heard on behalf of so many survivors of sexual assault in the military who haven't had a voice. Your story unfortunately is all too common, but together, by passing the Mi...


    9. Reached 100,000 signatures
    10. And One More Thing

      Teresa Youngs
      Petition Organizer

      Last year the military fired 23 Commanding Officers - this year it is up to 38. If the military can't trust their Commanders, why should we?

    11. Keeping My Fingers Crossed

      Teresa Youngs
      Petition Organizer

      I'm sorry that I haven't put out any news lately but for some reason I was unable to post to this site, so I am pleased to let you know that last week this petition had 2 congressional supporters and today it has 8, and for that I am thrilled. I hope you will join me in telling them thank you for standing up and supporting the Military Justice Improvement Act.

      I am keeping my fingers crossed because we believe that MJIA will finally be voted on after the first of the year before they recess. We thought that it was going to be added to the Armed Forces Authorization bill but that did not happen because of time constraints. We now think that we may have the 60 votes to get this passed so I want to personally thank, each and every one of you for signing this important petition and let you know that your participation is making a huge difference.

      We vow to never stop until there is justice for those that are suffering.

      I wish you all a happy and safe Holiday season.

    12. Reached 40,000 signatures
    13. Decision-maker Patrick Murphy responds:

      Patrick Murphy

      Sexual violence in our Armed Forces is unacceptable and a threat to the women and men serving our country. Despite more than 25 years of Pentagon studies, task force recommendations, and congressional hearings, sexual violence continues ...


    14. Decision-maker Robert Menendez responds:

      Robert Menendez

      As a cosponsor of the Military Justice Improvement Act, I believe this epidemic will only be truly solved when we take charging decisions outside the chain of command and shift them to independent military prosecutors.

      Senator Robert M...


    15. Reached 30,000 signatures
    16. You Are Not Alone

      Teresa Youngs
      Petition Organizer

      After reading some of the comments I thought that I would share with you a little about why I am here. When I first requested treatment for my PTSD I was asked to join a women's group at the San Jose, VA Clinic. When I joined that group, I found that my story was their story, their story was my story. We each had been in different services in different places, even in different countries. At last, many, many years after I left the military I found that I was not alone. Those women became my sisters, my battle buddies. So for those that are struggling, please feel free to reach out, reach out to me, to others. There are so many women and men that have walked in your shoes. Men, know that is not a woman's issue, men are raped and harassed too. Rape and harassment is a power issue, not a sexual issue.

      Stay brave
      Terri Youngs
      U.S. Navy, Retired

    17. Reached 20,000 signatures
    18. Picking up Steam

      Teresa Youngs
      Petition Organizer

      First of all, I want to give Jon Perri of Change.org a huge thank you.

      This morning as I logged on, this petition had 213 signatures but as I sat at my computer emailing, calling and Tweeting the United States Congress I watched the signatures grow to 994. This has been an exciting day as more and more of you added your voice to say "ENOUGH". For our Veterans, I want to say thank you.

      Keep up the good work and please keep this story alive by talking to everyone you know. Tell them that we MUST PASS MJIA.

      Terri Youngs
      U.S. Navy Retired

    19. Reached 1,000 signatures
    20. Kicking into High Gear

      Teresa Youngs
      Petition Organizer

      We are kicking our campaign into high gear because we are expecting MJIA to go to the floor next week. There has been talk of a filibuster, so we need your help. Tell Congress that anything other than passage of MJIA is unacceptable.

    21. Reached 100 signatures

    Supporters

    @SenatorReid

    Nov 19, 2013

    I'm going to support @SenGillibrand's important amendment to combat the problem of sexual assault in the military.

    Senator Harry Reid
    164k followers

    @SenatorBoxer

    Nov 19, 2013

    We owe it to Kate & all the other survivors of military sexual assault to end the decades of empty promises #passMJIA http://t.co/lhXhnSZIZe

    Sen. Barbara Boxer
    39.4k followers

    @SenGillibrand

    Nov 19, 2013

    This AM standing w/survivors, advocates, retired military & fellow Sens to urge Senate to #passMJIA to create unbiased system of mil justice

    Kirsten Gillibrand
    90.3k followers

    @CoryBooker

    Nov 19, 2013

    Thanks for your leadership. RT @SenGillibrand: Thank you, Sen. Cory Booker, for signing on as a co-sponsor of our #MJIA amendment.

    Cory Booker
    1.44M followers

    @ChuckGrassley

    Nov 13, 2013

    #MJIA needed 4 DOD women serving nation/freedom– bill wld protect Their rights, access 2 justice Sen shld passSenGillibrand reform

    ChuckGrassley
    74.2k followers

    @SenDeanHeller

    Nov 19, 2013

    Protecting sexual assault victims should be a top priority. I will support Senator @SenGillibrand's #MJIA legislation. #passMJIA

    Dean Heller
    9.73k followers

    @SenatorBaldwin

    Nov 19, 2013

    Proud to cosponsor @SenGillibrand's amendment calling for independent military prosecutors to determine whether to move a case forward #MJIA

    Sen. Tammy Baldwin
    6.87k followers

    @SenatorShaheen

    Nov 19, 2013

    #MJIA tells survivors that sexual assault will not be tolerated and cases will be handled seriously & fairly http://t.co/SJSPRIP5UY

    Sen. Jeanne Shaheen
    14.4k followers

    Reasons for signing

    • L Bush HOUSTON, TX
      • 6 days ago

      How can honor exist in the military if this is going on

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • ernest bozich CHESWICK, PA
      • 7 days ago

      I want justice!!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Christina Turner WILKES BARRE, PA
      • 11 days ago

      I was raped in Iraq

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Jaclyn Dunavan SIMPSONVILLE, KY
      • 11 days ago

      I'm disgusted in our military system because of how they aren't handling these MSA/MST cases. These women deserve justice! #NotInvisible

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Lisa Shepherd SPRINGFIELD, MO
      • 12 days ago

      As a US Navy Veteran, sexual assault within the military is a constant and continuing crisis. Many Commanding Officers couldn't care less.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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