Udall Promises “Bold and Productive Action” To Fight Sexual Assaults In The Military

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Responding to growing reports of sexual abuse and harassment within the United States military, U.S. Senator Mark Udall announced today he will take a leading role by working on both sides of the aisle to address sexual violence in the armed services. He outlined his plan to find solutions, hold perpetrators accountable, and protect victims from retaliation.

His plans include co-sponsoring "a number of bills" on the issue, and pushing for a provision to the National Defense Authorization Act. One of the bills he intends to support is the Murray-Ayotte Sexual Assault bill, a bipartisan piece of legislation from Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), which will establish a special military counsel to provide legal advice and assistance requested by any military sexual assault victim. The law will require cases to be automatically referred to a general or admiral to ensure greater oversight. The bill will allow cases to be shifted outside of the chain of command if an appropriate investigation does not occur in a timely fashion.

Udall will also co-sponsor a bill from Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) which would require a comprehensive review of the level of training by Department of Defense personnel regarding sexual violence. The bill will call for formal minimum levels of training, qualifications and experience in the areas of sexual assault prevention and response. Senator Udall has previously worked in this area; in 2012's National Defense Authorization Act, he supported the establishment of a panel of experts that will provide recommendations for reducing the numbers of sexual assault within the military.

On his announcement, Udall stated,

"As a father, a Coloradan and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I am angered by the failure to stem the tide of sexual assaults in the military. The good order and discipline of our armed forces and the safety of our troops is being threatened from within. We need to make clear that there will be zero tolerance for these horrific crimes and the people who commit them — just as we should in civilian society."

Udall continued, "I will work with my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee to ensure that this year's National Defense Authorization Act takes bold and productive action to solve this problem. Senators from both sides of the aisle have been collaborating on a number of proposals to address the issue. We need policies that preserve cohesion and morale by ensuring that military survivors of sexual assault are confident they will be protected by their chains of command and that their perpetrators will be effectively prosecuted.”

Senator Udall sits on the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee.

About nancycronk

Nancy Cronk is a longtime community activist and women's leader living in Arapahoe County. Six months before the historic "red sweep" election of 2014, she was recruited to run as a "placeholder" in HD37, and managed to bring in 40K from 500 small donors, and 42% of the vote -- just one point lower than the previous candidate who ran in a presidential year.

3 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. exlurker19 says:

    I know ex-servicewomen who were told to expect rape from their comrades-in-arms (pun intended) during basic training and who can't get much help with that particular form of PTSD from the VA even now.

     

    The whole thing is shameful, and I will be glad to see the issue addressed, instead of being merely the status quo.  Let's stop the rug meeting the sweeper over and over again.

  2. BlueCat says:

    Good start. And those who say rape is to be expected with healthy, fit, young men and women serving together are sick. I saw a letter to the editor calling it "normal".

    Lots of healthy, happy, exuberant consensual sex can be seen as "normal" under those circumstances and its normal that some unwise attractions may lead to breaking some of the rules concerning consensual relations within the chain of command. But abuse of power, betrayal and brutality do not constitute normal sexual relations between people serving together who owe each other their loyalty and must be able to trust one another with their lives. Soldiers who betray their comrades in this way ought to be judged guilty not only of the crime of rape but of treason.

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