WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is continuing her push to reform the way members of the military are prosecuted for sexual assault charges.
New York’s junior senator – who Chairs the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel – stepped up her call for reform on Thursday after the Defense Department released a new report on military sexual assault. Gillibrand was critical of the report for not including a prevalence survey to determine the total number of estimated cases of unwanted sexual contact in FY2013. In 2012, a prevalence survey was conducted, which found that there was an estimated 26,000 cases of unwanted sexual contact.
According to the report, only 1 out of 10 reported cases of sexual assault in the military proceed to trial and 8 out of 10 victims of sexual assault still do not trust the chain of command enough to report the crime committed against them.
Gillibrand called the report ‘deeply troubling’ – saying that it shows the scourge of sexual assaults has not been brought under control and the current military justice system in the U.S. remains broken. She added that since the report does not include a total estimated number of crimes committed, it is impossible to draw any conclusions regarding the number of increased reports.
Earlier this week, Gillibrand expressed her concerns to the Pentagon over potential changes of methodology of the next prevalence survey and the impact the change would have on the ability to track progress in preventing and responding to sexual assault in the Armed Forces.