Sexual Assault in the Military Bill Introduced in the House
On Wednesday, Representatives Mike Turner (R-OH) and Niki Tsongas (D-MA) introduced the Defense STRONG (Sexual Trauma Response, Oversight and Good Governance) Act that would increase the legal rights and protections for service members who have experienced sexual assault during their military service. The bill would provide victims with the right to legal counsel and would allow them to relocate to another military base. Moreover, the bill would require increased training for troops and would ensure the confidentiality for service members who choose to speak with advocates.
The Pentagon's "Fiscal Year 2010 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military" indicated that approximately 3,000 women experienced sexual assault in fiscal year 2008, which is a 9 percent increase from the previous year. For women in the military in Iraq and Afghanistan, the rate of sexual assaults by US military personnel increased by 25 percent.
According to a 2003 study by the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, at least one-third of all women veterans have experienced rape or sexual assault by fellow US military members frequently of higher rank during their service, and thirty percent of military women experience domestic violence. Moreover, rape occurs in the military nearly twice as often as in the civilian world.
The STRONG Act was proposed during the 111th session of Congress in May 2010 but did not pass. Although it is a bipartisan bill, advocates of the bill are concerned that it will not be supported by a Republican-majority House.
Media Resources: US Congress HR 5197; Feminist Daily Newswire 4/12/11; Huffington Post 4/12/11; Fiscal Year 2010 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military 3/17/11
12/9/2013 Mixed Results for Afghanistan's Anti-Violence Against Women Law - The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released their annual report on violence against women in Afghanistan yesterday, revealing mixed results of the country's Elimination of Violence against Women Law.
"A Way to Go: An Update on Implementation of the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women in Afghanistan [PDF]," found that there was a 28 percent increase in reports of violence against women from 2012 to 2013 , but only 17 percent of those were prosecuted under EVAW - a small 2 percent increase from last year.
The law, which was issued by the executive decree of President Hamid Karzai in 2009, criminalizes 22 acts of violence against women and specifies punishment for perpetrators. . . .