June 06, 2013


Did you post something about supporting the troops on Memorial Day? Nice sentiment, but that facebook post isn't doing much. It isn't helping the fact that the health care they were promised is in danger of being cut and taking longer for them to access, that many vets end up homeless and that as many as 1 in 3 women in the military are raped. 97.5% of these rapes aren't punished and women are too scared that they'll lose their job if they even report it. So if you can do more than wave a flag on Memorial Day, it would help the troops a lot more if you signed this petition. Unless you support military rape, of course. "Remember when conservatives in Congress held a hearing on birth control and didn't allow a single woman to testify?1 Yesterday, the Senate held a hearing on the national crisis of sexual assault in the military--and didn't hear from one single survivor of sexual assault. The Senate committee invited 2 supporters of reform and 18 opponents--a dangerously lopsided ratio that doesn't reflect public opinion.2 Déjà vu all over again. The problem of sexual assault in the military is not a new one. And it's getting worse--a recent Pentagon report found a 30% increase in sexual assaults over the past year. The military has tried to curb assault before, but obviously it hasn't worked. Less than 5% of reported assaults are ever prosecuted.3 Survivors and advocates are clear: We need to take prosecution out of the chain of command. When the Senate holds a hearing where opponents outnumber supporters 18-to-2, and not a single survivor is asked to tell her story, it's just a sham. Opponents of reform have stacked the deck against the best solution to this problem: Taking these cases out of the chain of command. There's a big national spotlight on the issue of military sexual assault right now--everyone from the President, to members of both parties in Congress, to military leaders knows it's a problem. If we show the Senate how outraged we are that they are ignoring survivors, we can push them to pass real reform. Can you sign the petition demanding the Senate invite testimony from servicewomen who have survived sexual assault in the military? Sign the petition. At the hearing, most members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff all argued against taking sexual assault cases out of the chain of command. They even said that before this year, dealing with rape in the service wasn’t a priority.4 But if members of Congress or military leaders have any doubt about the severity of this problem, all they need to do is listen to the survivors. Here are just a few stories from UltraViolet members who have lived through it: I am a Navy vet. I was raped while on active duty by another service member.... He was convicted. I was told he got 10 years. I learned much, much later that he served under two. MY career was put on hold during the prosecution, while he continued to work, going to the base club, doing everything that he normally did. I had to fight for every scrap I could get to not have my career stagnate. The stigma followed me into the fleet. What I intended to be a career ended early because the environment was impossible. It is time we protect our young women who are willing to put themselves in harms way for this country. They expect the attack from without. They are never looking out for the one from within. -A. As a physician who has worked in a VA primary care clinic, I encountered a significant percentage of female patients who were survivors of sexual assault during their military service. Many of these women never made official reports of the assaults. Those who did report sexual assault often found their commanding officers responding with in-action, intimidation, and sometimes, with sexual harassment or assault. -W. I was gang raped when I was in the military so many years ago. I never told anyone until recently. Please do what you can to intervene in this crime! We are no longer quiet! -L. These stories are heartbreaking, and they definitely make the case for Congress to act now. Sadly, they are only a few of thousands. In 2012 alone, more than 26,000 sexual assaults occurred.5 And it’s no wonder, with scandal after scandal revealing that the very people in charge of stopping these horrible assaults are committing them themselves.6 If the Senate is serious about solving this problem, they need to stop stacking their hearings with people who oppose legislation to fix it and start listening to servicewomen who have been affected by it. Can you sign the petition to demand that the Senate listen to the testimony of survivors of military sexual assault? Sign the petition. Thanks for speaking out." http://act.weareultraviolet.org/sign/military_survivors?referring_akid=471.211796.ML6QSR&source=facebook