Sexual Assault Survivors Are Pushing the U.S. Military to Have Its Me Too Moment
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.
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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Increasing Female Participation in Peacekeeping Operations
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