Congress Takes Historic Step to End Sexual Assault in Military

I appreciate the attention Ms. magazine has devoted to the issue of sexual assault in the military, including the most recent article in the Spring 2010 issue. Sexual assault within the ranks is without a doubt antithetical to values that define military culture: honor, trust and camaraderie. Any sexual assault undermines the moral foundation of our armed forces and does irreparable harm to unit cohesion. It also, as your article points out, devastates our service members and their families. The stories contained within the article are heartbreaking, and I want to thank those brave women for sharing their experiences. Their voices help members of Congress and officials in the Department of Defense (DOD) address these incidents more effectively.

Sexual assault is a complex problem that does not lend itself to a single discussion. As chairwoman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, I set out last year to continue an intense examination of sexual assault in the military by holding a series of hearings. The first two hearings of this series looked at victim advocacy and support, as well as the prevention programs put in place by the DOD. As your article mentioned, our last hearing held earlier this year fully examined the recent findings and recommendations of the Defense Task Force on Sexual Assault in the Military Services. I believe the depth of this report demonstrates the DOD’s attention to this problem as well as its intentions to improve on current efforts and eliminate sexual assault in our armed forces.

There’s a historic stand-alone title within this year’s National Defense Authorization Act; a complement to previous efforts, it is the most comprehensive package of legislative proposals addressing sexual assault in the military in the committee’s history. Provisions include the creation of legally privileged confidential conversation between uniformed victims and victim advocates, expediting and improving legal consultation and decision-making for victims within the military’s judicial system and providing greater policy and budgetary authority for prevention and response offices.

Know that Congress remains committed to ending these tragedies within our military services. Our service members make many sacrifices in keeping their commitment to protecting our families, and we must in turn honor our commitment to protecting them and responding to their needs.

Susan Davis represents California’s 53rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Above: woman bugler in the Air Force, 1953. From Creative Commons, attribution  3.0 unported


  1. 2nd Lt. Andrew Caulk says:

    As a current victim advocate and Air Force public affairs officer, I am glad to see this topic getting more visibility. While the discussion does not highlight our military at its best, it highlights a serious problem as we work to improve our sexual assault prevention programs. Continuing these discussions removes the barriers offenders hide behind.

    Thank you all for supporting your military.

    • We as women who serve in the Armed Forces, not only have to worry about the enemy, but we also have to worry about our own! I was a victim of a kidnapping and had experienced trauma from this terrible experience! As their were witnesses none came to my aide! Just a warning women in the military, it is not always the single men you have to worry about attacking you as I found out, as my attacker was married! It is very hard to be a women in the military and sexual harassment was common practice for some of the soldiers! Even though they teach about sexual harassment, they need to make it safe for a woman to tell her commander or superior! As I did not want to be ostracized and made fun of, if I would have told someone! Some of the soldiers invaded my personal space by touching me inappropriately! If I told them to stop they would persist! Women of the military service be warned, it happens! Like I learned when I was in the U.S. Army, a army of One! A army of individuals doing what they want and looking out for themselves! That slogan of: A Army Of One was very fitting! They got rid of it fast, and maybe that is why! When I first heard that slogan I laughed, and said yup that’s right A Army one one doing what each wants and looking out for themselves!
      I ended up developing P.T.S.D. from the attack on the base Fort Eustis in Virginia! I still have nightmare and some time wake up screaming in the middle of the night, as if I were being attacked all over again! I pray it will stop one day! For I will never forget that terrible incident, I wish I could forget!
      I have known other women who have been raped in the military by not the enemy, but men on our side!


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by California NOW and Ms. Magazine, jamiaw. jamiaw said: RT @msmagazine: Congresswoman Susan Davis Sounds Off Against Sexual Assault in the Military […]

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