Bill Encourages Military Sexual Assault Victims To Come Forward

May 9, 2013

New figures from the Defense Department show military sexual assault cases are increasing, and the majority go unreported.

Ohio Republican Congressman Mike Turner is proposing legislation to encourage victims to come forward. Emily McCord of member station WYSO in Yellow Springs reports.

At the same time that the military is implementing prevention programs, a Pentagon survey has found that sexual assault cases have risen by a third in a year. Of the 26 thousand people that were victims of sexual violence, only 34 hundred actually reported it. Congressman Mike Turner is cosponsoring bipartisan legislation called the Be Safe Act. It would prohibit military chain of command from setting aside cases of sexual assault and it would require that if a service member were convicted of the crime, that they be thrown out of the military. Turner says victims often face retaliation for reporting sexual assault, and hopes new laws will help assure that a conviction will stand.

This is most egregious of crimes and people who serve our nation shouldn’t be at risk from those that they serve with. The culture in the military clearly is wrong and it needs to be changed so that our service members can be safe.

Turner says he wants the proposal to be included in a defense policy bill that will be considered in the summer. This comes just days after an Air Force Official and Ohio native was arrested and charged with sexual battery. He was the chief of the Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention and Response branch.