Speier Introduces Bill to Eliminate Rape in the Military
Yesterday Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) introduced legislation to strengthen protections for victims of sexual assault in the military. The bill would transfer "the reporting, oversight, investigation, and victim care of sexual assaults out of the hands of the normal chain of command and place jurisdiction in the hands of an autonomous Sexual Assault Oversight and Response Office." The Office would be staffed by both civilian and military experts. Moreover, the bill calls for the creation of a sexual assault database, maintained by the Department of Defense (DoD) for the purpose of sharing information with the Department of Justice (DoJ) sex offender database, which contains the names of civilians.
Congresswoman Speier held a press conference today regarding the legislation. She stated, "Despite 25 years of Pentagon studies, task force recommendations and congressional hearings, sexual assaults and rape in the military continue unabated...The failure to respond in a judicial manner to sexual violence, is more than an injustice, it is, according to some of our highest ranked military leaders, a threat to our military readiness. Members of military unites live on, survive on the code of watching out for each other. When sexual assaults and rapes are hushed or ignored, trust in a unit is compromised with its collective readiness to engage the enemy."
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 during their service primarily from US service personnel, and thirty percent of military women experience domestic violence. Moreover, rape occurs in the military nearly twice as often as in the civilian world. Members of the US House of Representatives, including Jackie Speier (D-CA), Susan Davis (D-CA), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), and former Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-CA) have pressed the military to address sexualized violence.
Media Resources: Huffington Post 11/17/11; Statement of Jackie Speier 11/16/11
5/5/2015 Sen. Reid Promises to Filibuster "Fast Track" for the TransPacific Partnership - Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid has promised to delay efforts to push through the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal until the Senate first deals with two stalled bills that may soon expire.
Reid says that the two measures, an infrastructure bill on highway funding, and reforms to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), are "very complicated issues," that require the Senate's attention "before we even deal with [the Trans-Pacific Partnership]."
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive free trade agreement currently being promoted by the Obama Administration, has been heavily criticized by humanitarian groups, environmental groups, and medical groups. . . .
5/1/2015 House Reverses DC Law Banning Reproductive Health Discrimination by Employers - The US House of Representatives voted Thursday night to overturn a Washington, DC, law that makes it illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who use their insurance to cover procedures like in-vitro fertilization or abortion and contraception like birth control pills and IUDs for themselves, their spouses, or their children.
The District's council passed the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act last year. . . .