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
We need your help to propel Truthout into the new year
As we look toward the new year, we’re well aware of the obstacles that lie in the path to justice. But here at Truthout, we are encouraged and emboldened by the courage of people worldwide working to move us all forward — people like you.
If you haven’t yet made your end-of-year donation to support our work, this is the perfect moment to do so: Our year-end fundraising drive is happening now, and we must raise $150,000 by the end of December.
Will you stand up for truly independent, honest journalism by making a contribution in the amount that’s right for you? It only takes a few seconds to donate by card, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, or Venmo — we even accept donations of cryptocurrency and stock! Just click the red button below.