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 to occur at alarming rates year after year. A 2008 Department of Veterans Affairs report found that nearly 100,000 female and male veterans experienced psychological trauma resulting from a physical sexual assault, battery, or sexual harassment while in the Armed Forces.

Tragically, the majority of these victims never come forward. One of the reasons is the reporting and military judicial system is woefully ill-structured to address these crimes. Currently, the Uniform Code of Military Justice requires victims to report crimes to their commander, rather than prosecutors or law enforcement agents. This precludes impartial decision-making and at best, creates a biased judicial system for both the victim and the accused. For those who are victimized by their commander, there is little hope for justice. The result is an alarmingly low rate of prosecuting sexual assailants, with only 8 percent referred for courts martial. The time has come to take the reporting, investigation, prosecution, and victim care out of the hands of the normal chain of command and establish an autonomous Sexual Assault and Response Office to oversee cases of sexual assault in our Armed Forces. That is why I am proud to cosponsor H.R.1593, the Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention (STOP) Act and look forward to working across the aisle to pass this important legislation during the 113th Congress.


Posted on November 21, 2013
Discussion
  • Riva Gordon ASHEVILLE, NC
    • about 1 year ago

    It is the least we can do for women and men who serve our country, putting their lives on the line...ect.. Real justice, NOW!! My family and I WILL NOT vote for any politician who does not vote to fully support the military justice improvement act (S.967 #MJIA)!!

    The Gordon Family

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  • Jon Chalmers TRACY, MN
    • over 1 year ago

    As a veteran I have always pointed proudly to the U.S. military tradition of leaving no-one behind. There are countless stories of military members risking their lives to make sure that even the bodies of their fallen comrades come home. It is incomprehensible to me that a military force with this kind of esprit d’corps, the greatest military in the world, would for even a second tolerate this kind of treatment for victims of sexual assault. Frankly I am ashamed that the armed forces I served in condones this. To allow anyone in a victim’s chain-of-command to have control over any part of an assault investigation is ridiculous. Besides the obvious conflict of interest, even impartial commanders are simply not qualified to investigate cases of this kind. When the chain of command abuses their power in order to protect the accused and silence the accuser they become accomplices after the fact, and are as guilty of rape as the original attacker.

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  • Angela Pulzone FAIRFAX, VA
    • over 1 year ago

    Thank you God this means the world!

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  • Carol McClellan MADISON, WI
    • over 1 year ago

    I, too, add my thanks. Rape of anyone should not be tolerated.

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  • Mary Markus GARDEN GROVE, CA
    • over 1 year ago

    Patrick says it ALL.

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