At a press conference this morning, Congresswomen Jackie Speier (D-CA) announced that she is reintroducing the Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention Act (STOP Act) to address sexual assault in the military.
In an official statement, Speier said "The epidemic of military rape and sexual assault is a damning indictment of the military judicial system's treatment of these cases. True justice demands impartiality which is absent in a system that relies on individual commanders who have no legal expertise to determine which assailants get prosecuted and which go free. Instead of commanders making decisions about guilt or innocence, no matter how senior, an independent military office of trained experts should determine how these cases are treated."
At the press conference, Feminist Majority Government Relations Director, Norma Gattsek, said "The military structure for the handling of sexual assault is, in itself, a barrier to real justice. The atmosphere and the treatment of survivors deter them from reporting crimes and the perpetrators continue unabated. For all too many, it has meant leaving work they love, they are trained to do and that they do well. This is our loss."
The STOP Act, which has 83 co-sponsors, would take sexual assault cases out of the hands of chains of command and place it under the jurisdiction of an autonomous Sexual Assault Oversight and Response Office which will be comprised of civilian and military personnel. This would prevent officers from being able to overturn sexual assault convictions like in a case last month.
Media Resources: Business Insider 4/17/2013; Statement of Congresswomen Jackie Speier 4/17/2013; Feminist Newswire 3/6/2013
7/27/2015 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Blocked Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood - An attempt in the Senate to defund Planned Parenthood by Mike Lee (R-UT) was blocked this weekend by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Lee tried to attach the elimination of federal funds for Planned Parenthood to a vote for highway legislation, a move which was rejected by McConnell as out of order.
Republican legislators have redoubled their efforts to block funding for Planned Parenthood since the release of two heavily edited clandestine videos of different PPFA employees taken without their knowledge. . . .
7/24/2015 Katherine Spillar Urges Cleveland to Dramatically Increase Hiring of Women Police to Mitigate Police Violence - In a well-received speech at the City Club of Cleveland today, Katherine Spillar, Executive Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation urged Cleveland city officials to dramatically increase the hiring of women police officers as a way to decrease police brutality incidents.
Following a number of high profile police killings in Cleveland of African Americans, and an eight-month investigation by the US Attorney's office of the Northern District of Ohio, the City of Cleveland has now entered into a Consent Decree that requires numerous reforms in how the city oversees and investigates police operations, including training in use of force.
"Among the most important reforms mandated by the consent decree - and the most easily overlooked - are the changes the Cleveland Division of Police must make in its recruitment and hiring practices,
said Spillar. . . .