CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, June 25, 2013, the House will consider H.R. 1864, a bill to amend title 10, United States Code, to require an Inspector General investigation of allegations of retaliatory personnel actions taken in response to making protected communications regarding sexual assault,under a suspension of the rules. The bill was introduced on May 7, 2013 by Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-NJ) and referred to the Committee on Armed Services.
H.R. 1864 adds “rape, sexual assault, or other sexual misconduct” to the protected communications of members of the Armed Forces with Members of Congress or an Inspector General. This would require the Inspectors General of the military departments to investigate any allegations of retaliatory personnel decisions that were taken in response to a member of the Armed Forces making these protected communications.
Recently, the problem of sexual assault in the military has been receiving widespread scrutiny. One of the many issues that have come to light is the lack of reporting. According to the sponsor, in the last year there were an estimated 26,000 cases of military unwanted sexual contact, and yet only 14% of those were reported. Further, 62% of those who reported say they have experienced some sort of retaliation.
H.R. 1864 adds whistleblower protections for victims of military sexual assault to encourage safe reporting and eradicate future incidents of sexual assault. This same provision was included in the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2014, which passed the House on June 14, 2013 by a recorded vote of 315-108 (Roll no. 244).
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