Reps. Tsongas and Turner Introduce Legislation to Target Sexual Assault in the Military


Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (MA-D)
April 13, 2011

Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (MA-5) and Congressman Mike Turner (OH-3) and today introduced the Defense Sexual Trauma Response, Oversight and Good Governance Act (The Defense STRONG Act). This bipartisan legislation would expand legal rights and protections for service members who have been the victims of sexual assault. Among its main provisions, the legislation would provide victims with the right to legal counsel, the right to a base transfer, maintain confidentiality when speaking with Victim Advocates, and provide greater training for sexual assault prevention and response at every level of our armed services.

Recent studies have revealed that as many as 1 in 3 women leaving military service report that they have experienced some form of Military Sexual Trauma. By the Pentagon’s own estimate, as few as 13.5% of sexual assaults are reported. Additionally, while 40% of sexual assault allegations in the civilian world are prosecuted, this number is a staggeringly low 8% in the military.

“We ask our men and women in uniform who serve in the military to put their lives on the line for our country, and they shouldn’t fear or experience harm from their fellow soldiers,” said Congresswoman Tsongas. “While the military has made strides to address sexual assault in the ranks, victims still report a lack of confidentiality, protection, support, and access to legal counsel once an incident is reported. The Defense STRONG Act addresses many of these shortcomings with current DOD policy and I look forward to working with Congressman Turner and our colleagues on the Armed Services Committee to ensure these important provisions become law.”

To read the full story at  Congresswoman Tsongas’ web site, click here.