May 24, 2016

Hirono, Gillibrand Renew Call To Address Military Sexual Assault

Hirono Continues Years Long Fight For Justice

Senators Mazie K. Hirono and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), along with a bipartisan group of Senators and advocates, today called on the Senate to pass the bipartisan Military Justice Improvement Act, which would establish an impartial, fair, and accountable military justice system to address the crisis of sexual assault. Since 2013, Senator Hirono has championed this legislation, which would put the decision to prosecute serious crimes like sexual assault into the hands of impartial military prosecutors instead of potentially biased military commanders.

“Sexual assault in the military is a serious crime, and personal bias or a conflict of interest should not prevent victims from getting the justice they deserve,” said Senator Hirono. “We have made progress in the three years since we introduced this bill, but we still haven’t made what victims consider the most important change: taking the decision to prosecute out of the chain of command and putting it into the hands of a military prosecutor. This bill enjoys broad bipartisan support, and I call on my colleagues to pass it as soon as possible.”

The Senators also heard from veteran and sexual assault survivor Samantha Jackson, who collected 100,000 signatures urging President Obama to take action to create an impartial system to investigate and prosecute military sexual assault.

Currently, nearly eight out of ten military sexual assault survivors did not have enough trust in the system to report an assault. The Military Justice Improvement Act would remove sole decision-making authority over whether serious crimes move forward to trial from the chain of command to independent, trained military prosecutors.

Senator Hirono speaks with Samantha Jackson, a veteran and military sexual assault survivor