Target: Senator Kristen Gillibrand
Goal: Support Gillibrand’s bill to remove military sexual assault investigations from the chain of command so that it may pass.
Senator Kristen Gillibrand, a Democrat from New York, has proposed a bill to take the investigations of military sexual assault cases out of the chain of military command. However, this bill faces opposition from a fellow Democrat, Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, who has proposed her own bill addressing the egregious issue. However, McCaskill is not a proponent of taking military rape cases out of the chain of command, which is one of the most daunting reasons why victims do not report their assaults. McCaskill is creating political competition with her alternative bill, leaving senate support divided on the issue.
After an estimated 26,000 sexual assaults occurred in the military in 2012 alone, only 3,000 were reported, and only 302 cases were brought to trial. Gillibrand and her supporters believe that the chain of command encourages victims to keep quiet, and that to truly end rape in the military, this must be addressed. Others agree, as she has received substantial bi-partisan support as a result of her high-profile campaign, and a total of forty seven backers. Victims of military sexual assault have also spoken out, expressing that while it may not have stopped the rape from happening, taking the chain of command out of the investigation would have made the difference in reporting it.
Although McCaskill’s bill supports the same cause, it does not address this key aspect of a serious problem. Her bill would leave these crimes handled by the same chain of command that caused them, concerned that stripping military commanders of authority in the matter would undermine their authority in other matters. What does that do for victims whose assailant is their lieutenant, or anyone within that chain of command?
Senator Gillibrand is taking measures to end rape in the military. Support her bill to take investigations of sexual assault in the military out of the chain of command.
Dear Ms. Gillibrand,
Your bill proposing to take military sexual assault investigations out of the chain of command is well thought out and tackles one of the most important aspects of the problem. You have addressed an inherent contradiction in the handling of these crimes, as well as the victims’ discomfort in reporting their assailants because of it.
Although there is an alternative bill being proposed by a fellow senator, I believe yours is the one that will affect the most change. My signature represents support for your bill, in hopes that together we will garner enough attention to get your bill passed.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: personaldemocracy via Flickr