The Military Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Response Act (H.R. 840) would reduce sexual assault and domestic violence involving members of the Armed Forces and their family members and partners through enhanced programs of prevention and deterrence, enhanced programs of victims services, and strengthened provisions for prosecution of assailants.
Reports of sexual assault among U.S. troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan rose 26 percent from 2008, according to an annual Pentagon report presented to Congress in March. Among all active duty U.S. military troops, the Pentagon showed an increase of about 8 percent in sexual assault reports from the previous year.
Kim Gandy from NOW published a compelling piece about the re-emergence of the Military Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Response Act (H.R.840), which would enhance programs of prevention and deterrence, improve victims' services and strengthen provisions for prosecution of assailants. Here is what she had to say:
"This change in culture needs to come from the top. It should come from Commander in Chief Barack Obama, who needs to insist on real accountability to end sexual violence and rape in the military. President Obama must gather his generals and admirals and commanders and work out a way to end this treachery in our ranks. Let him say, 'Our servicewomen deserve better. And that's an order!"
This bill needs Republican support, as well as the existing Democratic sponsorship. We need this to pass in the House and for similar legislation to be proposed in the Senate.
We need not only to support our service men and women with supplies and ammunition, but also the means to deal with rape and sexual assault.