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Military Rape: Remember LaVena!

johnson lavenaThe Congress is currently discussing legislation to the rampant and pervasive culture of sexual assault in the military. The Pentagon’s recent report on rape indicated 26,000 people were assaulted in 2012, up front the 19,000 from the previous year. This means that even with all the bright lights on the issue, the military has been incapable of addressing the situation as it has been for years.

Two female senators have introduced legislation that have bi-partisan support. MO Sen. Claire McCaskill presented a bill that includes removing the authority from commanders to overturn a conviction at court martial and making it a crime to retaliate against a victim who reports a sexual assault.  Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s bill goes much farther in an extremely important way if there’s going to be true relief for victims. Her bill takes the issue out of the hands of the victims’ commanding officers and puts it in the hands of  “independent military” prosecutors.  If there’s never a prosecution of perpetrators, you can’t even get to the court martial or retaliation phase.

I liken the current military reporting system to reporting police abuse to Internal Affairs (police). How’s that working for citizens?

In St. Louis, let’s remember our own LaVena Johnson who was sexually assaulted and murdered in the Army. Given the numbers, there’s a victim in most of our communities. Call Sen. McCaskill to tell her the bill needs to farther and to support Gillibrand’s bill.

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