Are more active military members being sexually abused? At the conclusion of 2013, reports of military sexual trauma spiked by 50% — over the course of just one year, MSNBC reports. Although it is unclear whether acts of sexual assault are increasing — or just the number of past victims coming forward — one thing is indisputably clear. Sexual assault in the military is not being adequately addressed, and — whether past or present — the problem is much more far-reaching than previously thought. What’s being done, and what is there still left to do?
President Obama Signs the National Defense Authorization Act
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), signed into law on December 26, addresses important gaps in military justice. MSNBC explains, “It [the NDAA] will criminalize retaliation against victims of sexual assault who report and prevent military commanders from overturning jury convictions, as well as make court martial preliminary hearings more similar to those in civilian courts.” The NDAA also calls for dishonorable charges of active military members accused of sexual assault. Although some argue the act makes considerable strides to prevent and punish sexual assault and military trauma, others argue that the act doesn’t do enough.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Demands Improved Reforms; Gillibrand Proposes Military Justice Improvement Act
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand proposes further change; Gillibrand wants to take sexual assault out of the chain of military command. The Senator fears that military commanders are not making significant distinctions between minor and major offenses. She hopes to correct that with her pending act, the Military Justice Improvement Act. If passed, the act will remove biased from prosecutions and discourage inaction, Gillibrand adds.
Although legal help for veterans is a work in process, that should not stop veterans from seeking help and coming forward with abuse stories. Current government programs and veterans lawyers are happy to offer what help they can.
Politicians continue to push for greater reform and more assistance for veterans suffering from sexual trauma. In the meantime, veterans can turn to veterans lawyers and military-specific government assistance programs. Read more about this topic at this link: www.hillandponton.com