Urge Senate to Pass Military Justice Improvement Act

I received an email today from the National NOW Action Center regarding Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) Military Justice Improvement Act.  I pulled the text of the email and then rearranged and edited it to provide you with information about the bill and what you can do.  The bill is expected to soon come up for a vote in the US Senate, possibly as soon as this coming week.

Background

The Military Justice Improvement Act (S. 967), if passed into law, would establish an independent, objective and unbiased military justice system to better respond to the epidemic of sexual assault in the U.S. military.

Military leaders have been claiming since 1992 that there will be “zero tolerance” of sexual assault, yet there were 26,000 incidents of sexual assault and unwanted sexual touching that were reported in FY 2012.  It is clear that the current system of military “justice” does not work and must be changed.

Our major allies, Great Britain, Canada, Australia and Israel along with many other nations, years ago moved disposition of sexual assault crimes out of the chain of command to be handled independently by trained prosecutors. The U.S. should do the same.

Take Action

Your email message and your call – yes, please call your senators – could make the critical difference.  It is likely to be a close vote and senators need to hear from the grassroots that we demand justice for survivors.  It is a broken system that will remain broken unless Congress requires a fundamental reform of the process.

Please make that call today: tell them you want an independent, objective and unbiased military justice system that deals promptly and effectively with all reports of sexual crimes.

This link will take you to NOW’s action alert page where you can enter your zip code.  The website will then list your two Senators, their address, phone number and fax number. It also gives you a formulated email.  So there are five ways you can contact your Senator. I’m listing them from 1 to 5 with 1 being what I believe would have the most impact in a timely fashion:

  1. Call your Senators.
  2. Craft your own letter and fax it to both Senators
  3. Use the formulated email, personalize it on the website and submit it; It will be forwarded to both of your Senator’s in-boxes. Your email will have more clout if you personalize it with your own words.
  4. Just fill out the email address info and submit without making any changes to the email letter.
  5. Craft your own letter and mail it through the US Postal Service.  Although this has a lot of clout, it is very slow due to the high level of mail security used for Congress.  So it may or may not get there in time for your Senators and their staff to read before the vote.

Following each Senator’s name is their DC phone number in case you want to call without going to the NOW website.  When you do call, be sure to give the person answering the phone your name, address, and that you want your Senator to vote yes on S. 967, the Military Justice Improvement Act.  Then tell them why you support this bill.

Who’s on Board, Leaning, or Unknown

According to NOW the following are the Senators who have already signed on and/or are the most likely to vote for the bill.  If your Senator(s) are not listed here, they may be are harder sell for a “yes” vote, but it’s still worth a try.  The Senators listed below still need to hear from you so that they stay on the right side (“YES”) of the vote on S. 769.  Some are sponsors, some are leaning yes, and the rest on this list are unknown (sitting on the fence), but could be persuaded if they hear from constituents.

Before most of the names, you will see either a + (plus sign), an * (asterisk), or a # (pound sign).  These are keys to how they voted on S.967 in committee and on their votes on the 2013 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).   A plus sign means they are members of the Senate Armed Services Committee and they voted for S.967 when it was in committee.  An asterisk means that they both sponsored and voted for the 2013 version of VAWA. A pound sign means they didn’t sponsor, but did vote for the 2013 version of VAWA.

And here’s the target list.

Primary Targets

Note: All phone numbers are in Area Code 202. The letters and numbers immediately after the state identification but before the phone numbers refers to their office address (building and room number) in DC:

  • SD =Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510;
  • SH = Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510; and
  • SR = Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510.

Most likely Yes on Sponsorship/Support: (33)

  1. #ALEXANDER, Lamar (R-TN) SD-455  224-4944
  2. BARRASSO, John (R-WY) SD-307 224-6441
  3. BAUCUS, Max (D-MT) SH-511 224-2651
  4. BOOZMAN, John (R-AR) SH-320 224-4843
  5. BROWN, Sherrod (D-OH) SH-713 224-2315
  6. #BURR, Richard (R-NC) SR-217 224-3154
  7. CHIESA, Jeff (R-NJ) SR-C1 224-3224
  8. #COATS, Daniel (R-IN) SR-493 224-5623
  9. COBURN, Tom (R-OK) SR-172 224-5754
  10. CORNYN, John (R-TX) SH-517 224-2934
  11. *CRAPO, Mike (R-ID) SD-239 224-6142
  12. DURBIN, Richard J. (D-IL) SH-711  224-2152
  13. ENZI, Michael B. (R-WY) SR-379A  224-3424
  14. HATCH, Orrin G. (R-UT) SH-104  224-5251
  15. *HELLER, Dean (R-NV) SH-324  224-6244
  16. #ISAKSON, Johnny (R-GA) SR-131  224-3643
  17. JOHNSON, Ron (R-WI) SH-328  224-5323
  18. LANDRIEU, Mary L. (D-LA) SH-703  224-5824
  19. LEE, Mike (R-UT) SH-316  224-5444
  20. McCONNELL, Mitch (R-KY) SR-317  224-2541
  21. *MORAN, Jerry (R-KS) SR-361A  224-6521
  22. MURRAY, Patty (D-WA) SR-154  224-2621
  23. MURPHY, Christopher (D-CT) SH-303  224-4041
  24. #PORTMAN, Rob (R-OH) SR-448 4-3353
  25. REID, Harry (D-NV) SH-522  224-3542
  26. RISCH, James E. (R-ID) SR-48 3 224-2752
  27. ROBERTS, Pat (R-KS) SH-109  224-4774 –s
  28. RUBIO, Marco (R-FL) SR-284  224-3041
  29. #SHELBY, Richard C. (R-AL) SR-304 224-5744
  30. TESTER, Jon (D-MT) SH-706  224-2644
  31. #TOOMEY, Patrick J. (R-PA) SR-248 224-4254
  32. WARNER, Mark R. (D-VA) SR-475  224-2023
  33. WHITEHOUSE, Sheldon (D-RI) SH-530  224-2921

Voted for Gillibrand in Armed Services Committee (3)

  1. +DONNELLY, Joe (D-IN) SH-720 224-4814
  2. +HAGAN, Kay R. (D-NC) SD-521  224-6342
  3. +UDALL, Mark (D-CO) SH-730  224-5941

Secondary Targets: Armed Services  committee members who voted NO on S.967 in committee but could/should change their mind and support (3)

  1. KAINE, Tim (D-VA) SR-388  224-4024
  2. KING, Jr., Angus S. (I-ME) SD-359 224-5344
  3. MANCHIN III, Joe (D-WV) SH-306 224-3954

Additional Targets for Support

Democrats not on the bill who voted for VAWA (note: All Dems voted for 2013 VAWA) (6)

  1. KLOBUCHAR, Amy (D-MN) SH-302 224-3244
  2. LEVIN, Carl (D-MI) SR-269  224-6221
  3. McCASKILL, Claire (D-MO) SH-506 224-6154
  4. NELSON, Bill (D-FL) SH-716  224-5274
  5. REED, Jack (D-RI) SH-728 224-4642
  6. STABENOW, Debbie (D-MI) SH-133 224-4822

Republicans who sponsored and/or voter for VAWA 2013 (9):

  1. *AYOTTE, Kelly (R-NH) SR-144  224-3324
  2. #CHAMBLISS, Saxby (R-GA) SR-416  224-3521
  3. #COCHRAN, Thad (R-MS) SD-113  224-5054
  4. #CORKER, Bob (R-TN) SD-425  224-3344
  5. #FISCHER, Deb (R-NE) SR-383 224-6551
  6. #FLAKE, Jeff (R-AZ) SR-368 22 4-4521
  7. #HOEVEN, John (R-ND) SR-338 224-2551
  8. #McCAIN, John (R-AZ) SR-241 224-2235
  9. #WICKER, Roger F. (R-MS) SD-555  224-6253

Unknown (6)

  1.  BLUNT, Roy (R-MO) SR-260  224-5721
  2. GRAHAM, Lindsey (R-SC) SR-290 224-5972
  3. INHOFE, James M. (R-OK) SR-205 224-4721
  4. SCOTT, Tim (R-SC) SR-167 224-6121
  5. SESSIONS, Jeff (R-AL) SR-326 224-4124
  6. THUNE, John (R-SD) SD-511 224-2321

Good luck with your calls, faxes, letters, and emails.  If you hear something concrete from your Senators as to how they might vote, please come back and let us know in the comment section of this blog.  Thanks!

4 thoughts on “Urge Senate to Pass Military Justice Improvement Act

  1. http://www.fem2pt0.com/2013/11/15/why-passmjia-50-facts-about-the-injustice-of-sexual-assault-in-the-us-military
    50 Facts About Sexual Assault in the US Military
    1. In 2012, surveyed Active Duty Members of the military anonymously revealed 26,000 instances of unwanted sexual contact. This included coerced and abusive sexual contact, aggravated sexual assault and rape – all prohibited by military law.
    2. Women make up15% of active-duty forces, but 47% of sexual assault victims.
    3. 13,900 of the victims were men.
    4. 37% of women veterans report being raped at least twice.
    5. 14% of women veterans report experiences of gang rape.
    6. “Gee whiz, the level — the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur.” – Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga. on military sexual assaults at a Senate Armed Services Committee meeting.
    7. 75% of women who were assaulted did not report their attacks.
    8. 76% of men who were sexually assaulted did not report their attacks.
    9. The Pentagon estimates that 85% of sexual assault crimes go unreported.
    10. ¼ of victims indicate that the perpetrator was their ranking officer.
    11. 1/3 of victims indicate that the perpetrator was a ranking officer’s friend.
    12. 43% heard about negative experiences from other victims who had reported and 50% thought nothing would be done.
    13. During the reported period, only 302 service members faced punishment or dismissal as the result of being charged: less than 2.5% of the total suspected number of acts of sexual assaults and rape.
    14. Fully 20% of survivors of sexual assault and Liz Trotta think that rape is “to be expected” in the military.
    15. “I was repeatedly drugged and raped by several of my superior officers over a nine-month period. There was no one I could turn to because, like so many victims of sexual assault in the military, my attackers were in my chain of command. So I kept my mouth shut.” – Testimony of Trina McDonald, who was 18 when she was stationed in Alaska and assaulted.
    16. 62% of victims who reported sexual assault experienced retaliation.
    17. “They gave him the Military Professional of the Year Award during the rape investigation.”
    18. Military victims of violent assault or rape are 6X more likely to attempt suicide than service members and veterans who have not experienced sexual assault and rape.
    19. Estimated number of pregnancies resulting from rape in the military: Unknown
    20. In the past 25 years, more than 500,000 people have been sexually assaulted in the military.
    21. 22 years (1981-2013): the duration of the law that denied women in the military insurance coverage for abortions while they served. Jessica Kenyon was raped while stationed in Korea. She didn’t report the rape because she was “was trying to “soldier on” and didn’t trust [her] chain of command.” She found out she’d been forcibly impregnated when a doctor told her commanding officer, who called her into his office to say she’d be charged with adultery (she was divorced, so was not charged). She could not get an abortion on base and was discharged.
    22. 79% of women serving in the military during the past 40 years report persistent experiences of sexual harassment.
    23. Feel “like a ho?” Question asked by Andrew Weinstein, the lawyer for one of three U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen accused of sexually assaulting a classmate. During 30 hours of grueling questioning she was also asked, “Were you wearing a bra?” “Were you wearing underwear?” and what her oral sex technique is.
    24. “The command’s attitude towards rape is why most victims don’t report rapes…The man did not get convicted even though he had raped multiple women in [military] law enforcement.”
    25. The chances of a female veteran developing PTSD are nine times more likely if she has been sexually assaulted.
    26. Veterans with PTSD linked to military sexual trauma are significantly more likely to be denied disability compensation, especially male survivors.
    27. 66: Age of man who still has to sit with his back to a wall after being raped three times, 47 years ago at Lackland Air Force Base.
    28. 48,100 women and 43,700 men who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, responding to a survey, acknowledged suffering from military sexual trauma.
    29. Heath X reported that he was gang raped, told he was lying, threatened, bullied, assaulted again and tried to commit suicide all during his first month in the service. He left, became homeless, was incarcerated and was diagnosed as suffering “intense psychological pain.” He was taken to a Naval jail, and then returned to his post where he had to serve with the “gang of molesters” that had attacked him before. He was violently assaulted before and given the day off. He faced court-martial or dishonorable discharge. He was denied benefits because he was dishonorably discharged. He was 18.
    30. “Take an aspirin and go to bed.” – Response to survivor of assault after being raped by her superior officer.
    31. 90% of survivors of sexual assault in the military are involuntarily discharged.
    32. 80% of perpetrators and those accused are discharged with honor.
    33. “Rape is part of the job description,” “jokes” a rape survivor when discussing her assaults and the environment in which they took place.
    34. Female veterans become homeless at a rate 3-4x greater than civilian women.
    35. 53% of a growing number of homeless female veterans have experienced military sexual trauma.
    36. “You’re probably just a little slut.” – One of many similar responses to Kate Weber’s describing being raped on a fire escape and being then pushed off, falling two stories.
    37. Studies have found that men and women handle combat stress equally well, but that military sexual trauma – avoidable and overwhelmingly inflicted by fellow soldiers – is the only factor increasing the additional risk of PTSD among women. Military Sexual Trauma is the primary source of PTSD for women, whereas combat experience is the strongest contributing factor of PTSD in men.
    38. Black women veterans report that they experience more unwanted sexual attention and sexual coercion. Veterans who are white women report higher incidences of sexual and gender-based harassment.
    39. Enlisted women report higher rates of harassment, coercion and assault than officers do. Because, we all know that rape is about accidents and sex and not entitlement and status and the opportunity they create.
    40. “If you tell anyone, I’ll tell them you’re a dyke.” – What Michelle Jones’ squad leader told her after he sexually attacked her.
    41. “Service members must report rape to their commanders. However, if their commanders take action and prove that rape occurred, they also prove a failure of their own leadership.”- Brian Lewis, who was 20 when he was raped while in the Navy.
    42. Men make up 85.5% of the armed forces and 92.1% of top-ranked military officers.
    43. By the terms of the current military legal code of justice system a general’s decision to overturn a jury verdict is the final word.
    44. Men in the military academies have a markedly higher propensity to believe in stereotypical gender roles and rape myths which typically include the ideas that survivors are lying and, if telling the truth, to blame.
    45. Men make up 92.1% of top-ranked military officers.
    46. “I have never met one person who has reported a sexual assault offense and kept her career.
    47. Kori Cioca was serving in the US Coast Guard when she was raped by a commanding officer. He also broke her jaw, leaving her with lifelong pain and serious depression. When she attempted to bring him to justice, she was informed by her commanding officer that she’d be court martial as a liar; the man, who granted that an assault happened, but said it did not include rape was restricted to his base for 30 days without pay for a short time. Maybe a book report would have been more effective.
    48. “It is hard to be a Military Sexual Trauma spouse — not hard to be with a survivor, but hard because at times I feel so helpless to the trauma.” Kori Cioca’s husband.
    49. 55: Number of senators who have not said whether they support the Military Justice Improvement Act or not.
    50. “Sleep it off.”

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