Sexual assault in the military: spotlighting problem solvers

In the lead up to Veterans Day, we’ll be sharing information about military sexual assaults. This is the second post in the series of three.

By Jenny Horn

In our first post in this series, we’ve highlighted the pervasiveness of the issue of military sexual assaults. It may seem overwhelming sometimes, because the problem is so large. But today we’re spotlighting just a few of the individuals and groups dedicated to ending sexual assault and sexual harassment in the military. There is hope!

The ACLU Women’s Rights Project (WRP) works to hold the government accountable to survivors of military sexual violence and harassment through litigation and federal legislative and administrative advocacy.

Every year since 2013, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has introduced legislation to move the decision to prosecute major military crimes, including sex crimes, out of the hands of commanders and into those of independent prosecutors. This year military veteran, sexual assault survivors, and current U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) has joined the legislation, giving it more sway among both her caucus and in military circles.

Ellen Haring, a retired Army officer and research fellow at the nonprofit Service Women’s Action Network, advocates for improved policies that affect women in the military, including but not limited to policies regarding the handling of sex crimes. Ellen’s research and work focuses on women and gender in the military and she has testified on numerous shows and in front of Congress.

Col. Don Christensen, a retired chief Air Force prosecutor, works towards reform as the president of Protect Our Defenders, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing rape and sexual assault in the military.

Lynn Rosenthal, formerly the first-ever White House advisor on violence against women, was tasked by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III to lead the 90-day Independent Review Commission on sexual assaults in the military. The report was released over the summer and the White House put out a statement in support of the recommendations made in the report.

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