Indiana Rep’s Military Sexual Assault Bill Passes House

A bill making its way through Congress would reform investigation policies for sexual abuse cases in the military.

female military

Photo: Flickr/ DVIDSHUB

Congress is debating changes to how the military handles sexual assault cases. The bill being proposed would prevent top commanders from handling cases that involved their subordinates. The leader of Indiana’s sexual assault prevention groups says she doesn’t think that approach is the way to go.

Republican Representative Jackie Walorski says when she saw the estimated number of sexual assaults in the military, she knew something had to be done.  According to a Pentagon report, an estimated 26,000 military personnel may have been sexually assaulted in the past year.

Walorski’s bill requires the inspectors general for each branch of the United States Armed Forces to investigate any allegation of retaliation against a victim who reports the assault. The bill unanimously passed the House.

Walorski says the men and women serving in the military need to know they can  report an incident without fear of repercussions.

“This actually creates a floor for safe reporting. I am so pleased that we had over 110 cosponsors on the bill,” Walorski says. “As I’ve told the Armed Forces Committee, our men and women in uniform are the bravest and brightest, and this horrific crime cannot be tolerated a minute longer, which is why we brought the bill before.”

Walorski says she is optimistic of the bill’s chances in the Senate.

“There’s a wide interest on the Senate side as well to move this bill forward and get it to the president’s desk so that upon his signature this becomes effective,” Walorski says. “Otherwise, we could wait four, five, six more months for whistle blower protection, and this is by far the place to start.”

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