Target: Senator James Inhofe
Goal: Improve how sexual assault cases are handled in the military
Women who serve in the military are all too often the victims of sexual assault at the hands of their fellow soldiers, and all too infrequently is justice served for the perpetrators. The Senate recently denied a vote on the Military Justice Improvement Act, an act that would help bring justice to women in the military by changing the way sexual assault charges are handled. The current system relies on a perpetrator’s commanding officer to make the decision about whether the trial goes to court and what charges will be made. Because of this, decisions are often biased, favoring the perpetrator over the victim. Only a small percentage of perpetrators are actually punished for their actions.
While around one third of women in the military are sexually assaulted, only about 14 percent of sexual assaults are reported. Those women brave enough to stand up against their assailants run the risk of being punished themselves. Senator Kirsten Gilibrand introduced the Military Justice Improvement Act to reform the military justice system so that appointed military prosecutors would determine the fate of sexual assault cases rather than commanding officers. This change would allow women to feel safer reporting cases of sexual assault as it would lower their chances of retaliation and improve the likelihood of a conviction against their perpetrators.
The request for a vote on the MJIA has been blocked twice in the Senate as some Senators argue it is unnecessary. However, it is obvious that not enough is being done to protect our women in the military. There is a gender prejudice against women and criminals are getting away with heinous crimes that if executed anywhere else would face much more serious consequences. A demand must be made from the senators opposing the vote to rethink their block and allow a vote on this act. Women in the military fight for and protect our country and deserve to be protected themselves.
Dear Senator Inhofe,
Women in the military do not receive enough justice when reporting sexual assault. The way the military justice system is currently organized allows the bias of the perpetrator’s commanding officer to protect criminals. Because of this, the perpetrator rarely faces serious consequences and in turn the victim is punished for coming forward. This discourages victims of sexual assault from reporting crimes for fear of retaliation.
Women and men serving in the military contribute equally to protecting our nation. Therefore, men should not have preference and military women should feel safe coming forward after a sexual attack. A reform in the military justice system is necessary to create equality for men and women in the military.
I urge you to rethink your decision to block the vote of the Military Justice Improvement Act. The passing of this act could be a substantial step in ensuring the safety of women in the military. Please help create justice for all who serve our country and allow the vote of the MJIA to pass to the Senate.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: SGGH via Wikimedia Commons