Senator Gillibrand’s attempt to improve military sexual assault protocol blocked

Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has been one of the most vocal and valiant critics of the way the military has responded to the epidemic of sexual assault. Gillibrand had put forth a proposal, which had 27 co-sponsors, including 4 Republicans, to remove sexual assault cases from the chain of command and place them in hands of an independent prosecutor. Gillibrand succinctlyexplained the problem inherent in leaving the decision making power within the chain of command: “When any single victim of sexual assault is forced to salute her attacker, clearly our system is broken.”

Lest you think Gillibrand is some civilian utopionist, out of touch with the gritty realities of military life,  you should know that SWAN (Service Women’s Action Network) also supportstaking the handling of sexual assault crimes out of the chain of command, since,

“Apart from compromising impartiality, the current system places victims at risk of retaliation by vesting authority in a figure who often exercises control over the career advancement of both parties. By approaching criminal justice from a personnel perspective, this policy promotes widespread fear of reprisal, creating a significant barrier to reporting… SWAN proposes that the United States military move the administration of criminal justice from commanding officers to professional prosecutors and judges.”

Read more at Feministing

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