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Sexual Assault Survivors Are Pushing the U.S. Military to Have Its Me Too Moment

May 29, 2018

May 28, 2018: Just this past week retired Staff Sgt. Merci McKinley joined Service Women’s Action Network staff and other members on Capitol Hill to talk with Members of Congress about their personal experiences and key issues facing military women due to the Pentagon’s recent release of its annual report on sexual assault in the military. Merci served in the US Army for 13 years and was deployed to Iraq four times. During that time, she was raped by fellow soldiers. Today Merci advises other victims and advocates on their behalf. To hear more about Merci’s experiences and her efforts on behalf of service women, please click on the Vice News link below.

https://video.vice.com/en_us/video/the-military-is-still-waiting-for-its-metoo-reckoning/5ae0cda4f1cdb370c71e12a1

The video highlights the disheartening news that 15,000 service members have suffered sexual assault in 2016, an increase of 10%. Although the military continues to claim that the increase is due to sexual assault victims’ confidence in the system, the conviction rate resulting from their reports has continued to decline for the last three years. Not only are perpetrators not being held accountable, but 40% of assault victims indicate personal or professional retaliation after coming forward. Since 2013 Senator Kirsten Gillebrand has been pushing a bill, The Military Justice Improvement Act, that would turn sexual assault cases over to independent military prosecutors.  So far Senator Gillebrand has not succeeded in getting the bill to the floor.

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Sarah Zorn Finishes Tenure as First Female Commander at U.S. Military Academy, the Citadel

NEWS
May 20, 2019

May 20, 2019: The Citadel, the military academy which was forced to admit women after a 1995 Supreme Court ruling, selected it's first female regimental commander last year. Sarah Zorn's time as the first woman to lead 2,400 cadets is documented in a photo essay by Alyssa Schukar. Women now make up 10% of the student body.See more: I Serve as a Stepping Stone (nytimes.com)

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A Cultural Shift Is Helping Keep Talented Mothers in the U.S. Navy

NEWS
May 16, 2019

May 15, 2019: Lt. Cmdr. Karen Sankes-Ritland never imagined life outside the military.But more than a decade into her career, the strains of family life and a dual-military household were taking a toll. Something had to change. She needed a break. But she didn't want to leave the Navy. So after her fourth child's arrival in 2016, she took advantage of a program that lets enlisted sailors and officers take a sabbatical. For a year, she was a stay-at-home mom.

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Blue Helmets: Model for Global Partnership

NEWS
May 14, 2019

May 13, 2019: Retno LP Marsudi, Foreign Minister of Indonesia, delivered a speech touching upon the importance of female peacekeepers on May 7 at the United Nations Security Council. Minister Marsudi noted that "investing in women equals investing in peace. Female peacekeepers are more effective in winning the hearts and minds of local populations;providing comfort for those traumatized by conflicts.

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