I am asking you to do a simple thing today.
Call your Senators (both of them), irregardless of party, and ask them to support the bi-partisan bill sponsored by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, The Military Justice Improvement Act of 2013 (#MJIA). This bill will remove military chain-of-command from the decision making process in military sexual assault cases. MJIA is being proposed as an amendment to the 2014 defense spending bill and voting can start as soon as today.
Need some talking points? From Gillibrand's recent speech before the Senate, I've gleaned a few facts you might like to know. You can find her full speech below the fold.
MJIA proposes an independent military justice system that gives survivors a fair shot at justice.
MJIA is Bi-partisan and pro-military.
MJIA strengthens good order and discipline in the military.
Our allies have already made these reforms - Israel, the UK, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, to name a few.
3000 brave victims reported last year - 62% were retaliated against. Those command climates failed.
According to RAND, the military has lost 3.6 billion dollars last year alone because victims are forced out and the military must train their replacements. We're losing quality officers and enlisted because the current command climate makes it easier for victims to leave the military than to stay and continue to serve.
Last year, only 1 in 10 victims filed unrestricted reports, totaling 2,500 cases - only 300 of these went to trial. Remember, a grand 26,000 cases went unreported last year alone.
"An independent system will protect not just the rights of the victim but an accused who may well be innocent. When a commander is the only decision maker and they may know the victim and they may know the perpetrator or the accused, and they have a reason to deal with this case in a way that is reflective of their bias. What you are creating is an unjust system. Justice must be blind."After you've made your calls, please click the twitter and facebook links above and make sure your friends and families have the opportunity to help our military service members obtain the best justice system possible.
Senator Kristen Gillibrand