Mike Honda responds:

Mike Honda

First of all, I am grateful to the men and women who bravely serve our country and defend our freedoms. They have answered the call to serve and have done so with honor and courage.

That is why it is especially horrific to hear that so many of these servicemembers are victims of rape and sexual assault perpetrated by other members of the military, and that the perpetrators are far too often able to avoid punishment. Thanks to the courage of those who have stepped forward and told their stories, our country is learning about these abuses and beginning to support reforms.

Sexual violence in the U.S. military is a crisis, and assaults continue to persist at an alarming rate. As you know, the Department of Defense (DOD) does not currently have a military sex offender registry. Instead, perpetrators convicted of any sexual offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) must register with public state-based registries. Individuals who fail to comply with registration requirements are subject to criminal prosecution under both state and UCMJ laws.

That said, we need wholesale changes to the handling of sexual assault in the military. That is why I have supported multiple bills that honor and protect our servicemembers, including the Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention Act (the STOP Act, H.R. 1593), which would establish an a oversight council for victims; the Ruth Moore Act (H.R. 671), which would improve disability for veterans with conditions related to sexual trauma; and the Military Justice Improvement Act (H.R. 2016), which takes assault trials out of the chain-of-command of the accused. However, as the DOD is currently working to implement a database which will track both existing and potential predators, my colleague Rep. Jackie Speier opted to leave this language out of the current version of the STOP Act. You can be sure I will continue to monitor its implementation and support legislation should it be necessary.

As a member of Congress whose father served in World War II, I am grateful for the courage of those on and off the battlefield, and I will continue to advocate for the well-being of our military servicemembers everywhere.


Posted on November 26, 2013
Discussion
  • Patti Edmon LEXINGTON, KY
    • about 1 month ago

    I'm so disturbed to see so many willing volunteers sacrifice, in many cases, part or all their mental and physical abilities and not get any benefits - in some cases owing the government money. Is there anything we can do??

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  • Archie Gandy RACINE, WI
    • 4 months ago

    This cancer has got to be cured! From the number of servicemembers stepping forward about sexual abuses, is apparent that the present system is obsolete and not working; and needs immediate change for the betterment of all Armed Servicemembers.

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  • Gregory Garrett IRVING, TX
    • 4 months ago

    Aside from being Raped by a service man, I was Drugged, by him. I had no way of stopping his advances, since I had been knocked out cold, by the drug, that he put into a brownie, the date rape drug known as rhohitinol was the only way he could get his jolly's, to knock someone out and take advantage of their unconscious condition. I reported it to the police, and they did Nothing. I have little else to say, but, complaining to the military, is a Joke... since they won't even bother to investigate, the crime either. Sexual predators will have their way with you, and, if you care about your health and well being, you will avoid any situation, that will put you at risk. What are you going to do about it?

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  • Dot Longerbeam COLONA, IL
    • 4 months ago

    I just hope you carry through with your word. I've lost a lot of trust and respect for politicians.

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  • John Payson EXETER, NH
    • 4 months ago

    Navy and Coast Guard have separated their Criminal investigations from the chain of command. The Criminal investigators in these services are civilians who report through a chain directly to the Secretary's office, not Line Officers.

    It is time for the same to happen in all of the services.

    Then add enough investigators to actually treat this issue like the crisis it truly is.

    If you have to wait for Congress to do something about it, passing the responsibility off from the DoD leadership--- you will likely wait for years; unless you at the same time Actually treat this like a crisis, and get immediate attention. It can be done. Look, Congress was able to pass a TRILLION DOLLARS in appropriations, without line items, for distribution under discretion of the Secretary of the Treasury---- in only a matter of weeks, not years, because there truly was a crisis.

    There is a crisis with sexual assault in the Military at home, on deployment, and yes, in the Service Academies too. The service academies are one of the worst symptoms, these Cadets and Midshipmen are who will become the core officers for leadership up the chain of command for decades. If such criminals are protected and hidden there, there is no mystery why it continues throughout the military establishment.

    If the Secretary were at Congress, on the news, spending at least 1 day a week doing nothing but work on the sexual assault crisis, it might be that something would start to happen in the positive.

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