220 survivors of military sexual trauma descended on Capitol Hill, May 8, 2012.

Survivors of Military Sexual Trauma’s
Special Delivery to Capitol Hill


Scott Wooledge
Daily Kos
May 8, 2012

On May 8, Service Women’s Action Network held their “Truth and Justice Summit,” the first-ever mass convening of survivors of military sexual assault on the nation’s capitol. The schedule inclues a panel of survivors sharing their stories with attendees and the press. There will be an awards luncheon, advocacy training and visits to congressional offices. The aim of the congressional outreach, from SWAN policy director Greg Jacob:

We are asking that Congress educate themselves more on issues of sexual assault and harassment in the military and that they become vocal leaders in holding the military accountable for stopping rape in the ranks.

This is an issue that affects men and women service-wide. The reforms and improvements made thus far have been spearheaded by a relatively small group of legislators, most of them being on the Armed Services committee. It is critical that Congress understand that the issue of military sexual violence affects everyone, including veterans and families in their districts that might not have a military presence.

To read the full story at the Daily Kos, click here.



Thanks to Susan Avila-Smith for providing the reporting link.

Telling the Truth and
Demanding Justice



Greg Jacobs
SWAN – Huffington Post
May 8, 2012

Today, more than 250 advocates, supporters, lawmakers, family members and survivors of sexual violence in the military will come to Washington, D.C., in a first-of-its-kind event that will inform, empower and move forward critical efforts to eliminate sexual violence within the military.

Truth and Justice, the 2012 Summit on Military Sexual Violence” is being presented by the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN). SWAN is a groundbreaking civil rights organization that focuses on the needs of service women and veterans. This innovative event will include remarks from several members of Congress, panel discussions from veteran survivors telling their own stories of resilience and reintegration, and military law and policy professionals discussing challenges and strategies for changing the culture and climate around the issue of sexual violence in the military.

To read the full story at the Huffington Post, click here.

Sexual Assault in the Military –
SAPRO Annual Report, DoD Initiatives


The Pentagon’s top civilian and military leaders took their campaign to stop sexual assault in the military to Capitol Hill, where they announced new initiatives to combat the problem.

“General Dempsey and I consider this a serious problem that needs to be addressed,” Secretary Panetta said. “It violates everything the U.S. military stands for.”

The U.S. Department of Defense released a statement on April 16, 2012 regarding the issue of sexual assault in the military.

The initiatives include:

  • Establishing with congressional approval a “special victims’ unit” within each service composed of specially trained experts in evidence collection, interviewing and working with victims;
  • Requiring that sexual assault policies be explained to all service members within 14 days of their entry into active duty;
  • Allowing National Guard and Reserve personnel who have been sexually assaulted to remain on active duty status to obtain the treatment and support afforded to active-duty members;
  • Requiring a record of the outcome of disciplinary and administrative proceedings related to sexual assault and retaining the records centrally;
  • Requiring commanders to conduct annual organizational climate assessments to measure whether they are meeting the department’s goal of a culture of professionalism and zero tolerance of sexual assault;
  • Enhancing training programs for sexual assault prevention, including training for new military commanders in handling sexual assault matters; and
  • Mandating wider public dissemination of available sexual assault resources, such as DOD’s “Safe Helpline,” a 24/7 helpline via Web, phone or text message operated by the nonprofit Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network.

To read the full Armed Forces Press Service article, click here.



US Department of Defense
Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office


US Department of Defense SAPRO – Annual Reports

Fact Sheet on Department of Defense Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military for Fiscal 2011 April 13, 2012  (DoD)

Briefing Paper: Department of Defense (DoD) Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 – Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN)


Media Coverage and Editorials:

Leon Panetta Lays Out New Rules to Combat Sexual Assault in U.S. Military,  The Daily Beast, April 18, 2012

Right Steps on Military Sexual Assault, The New York Times (Editorial), April 17, 2012

Panetta Offers Steps to Curb Sex Assault in Military, Reuters, April 16, 2012

Panetta, Dempsey Announce Initiatives to Stop Sexual Assault, Armed Forces Press Service, April 16, 2012

UPDATE:  Truth and Justice:
2012 Summit on Military Sexual Violence


Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) is sponsoring a one day Truth and Justice conference May 8th  in Washington, DC to give MST survivors the opportunity to share their stories with congress members, policy experts and the general public, coupled with key panels on major topics involving military sexual violence and survivors’ access to justice.

In 2010, the Department of Defense (DOD) documented 3,158 reports of military sexual assault, but concluded that only 13.5% of total cases were actually reported. DOD estimates that in 2010 alone, over 19,000 sexual assaults occurred in the military. Survivors who do report experiences of rape or sexual assault rarely receive justice because discretion is allocated to military commanders, thus bringing less than 21% of alleged perpetrators to court-martial; even fewer are convicted or sentenced to prison. For more information, please see the SWAN factsheet on Rape, Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment in the Military.


Summit Schedule:

Locations and Speakers TBA

7-8:15a – Welcome, Registration

8:15a – Opening Remarks

8:30 – 9:45a – Panel 1

Challenges and Strategies for Change

10a – 11:30a – Panel 2

Survivors and Family Members Tell Their Stories

11:30a-1p – Lunch, Keynote, Awards Ceremony

1-1:45p – Advocacy Training

2p-5p – Congressional Visits

5p – Reconvene, Closing Remarks


For more information about SWAN’s Truth and Justice Summit, click here

To contact the SWAN Legal and Peer Support Helpline, click here.

Clearance Form Needs Changes, Advocates Say

Rick Maze
Military Times
March 2, 2012

Leaders of an advocacy group for sexual assault victims in the military hope the government soon changes its policy requiring the disclosure of assault-related mental health counseling when applying for security clearances.

“The lack of leadership on this issue has been extremely disappointing,” said Greg Jacob, policy director for the Service Women’s Action Network and a former Marine officer and enlisted member. “When senior federal officials refuse to make a simple change to an unfair policy that only gives troops the option to lie, quit or remain silent in order to keep their careers, it is nothing short of a colossal leadership failure.”

To read the full article at the Military Times web site, click here.

Additional information on this issue:

SF-86 Questionnaire for National Security Positions (Question 21 is on page 84)

Question 21: Making Progress

In this post, usmvaw offers information about some significant current events that address the ongoing problems of sexual harrassment, assault, and rape of women and men in the military.

The class-action lawsuit filed in February of this year by seventeen U.S. veterans against Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his predecessor Donald Rumsfield has been amended.

The lawsuit now lists twenty-eight plaintiffs.

The amended version is available in PDF format at the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) web site. To read it, click here.

On November 17th, the Military Rape Crisis Center will be joining Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-12) at the National Press Club in Washington DC for a press conference regarding Sexual Assault and Harassment in the Military.

Congresswoman Speier will announce legislation to address the systematic problem of sexual assault and harassment among our men and women in the military.

If you would like to attend this event, please RSVP to Congresswoman Speier’s office at 202.225.3531.

If you are an MST survivor and plan on attending, please also email panayiota@stopmilitaryrape.org

The Christian Science Monitor  – Exclusive:
1 in 5 Air Force Women
Victim of Sexual Assault, Survey Finds


The Air Force is set to release a comprehensive survey about sexual assault, which could become a model as the Pentagon begins to address sexual assault within its ranks more openly.

Anna Mulrine
The Christian Science Monitor
March 17, 2011

In a quiet push to more honestly address sexual crimes within the military, the Air Force will release a survey later this week that finds 1 in 5 women say they have been sexually assaulted since joining the service.

It is one of the most comprehensive studies undertaken by the US military to assess sexual assaults within its ranks, and could become a model for how the military as a whole begins to address the problem, defense officials say.

To read the story at The Christian Science Monitor, click here.

Story thanks to SWAN – The Service Women’s Action Network

Exclusive: 1 in 5 Air Force women victim of sexual assault, survey finds.

Additional coverage of media reports since the filing of the Military Rape and Sexual Assault Class Action Lawsuit on February 15, 2011.


The Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) has collected news reports from around the country and the world. You can see the latest coverage and information about the lawsuit at their web site, here.


The Young Turks
February 15, 2011

Lawsuit Says Military Is Rife With Sexual Abuse The New York Times, February 15, 2011

Military Accused of Turning Blind Eye on Rape Victims NBC San Diego, February 15, 2011

Lawsuit Says Military Tolerates Rape, Assault Marine Corps Times, February 15, 2011

Thanks to the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) we have a link to the full text of the lawsuit filed on February 15, 2011.

Military Rape and Sexual Assault Class Action Lawsuit

SWAN has started a petition drive to end rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment in the military. You can read the petition here.

Military Rape and Sexual Assault
Class Action Lawsuit
Press Conference
February 15, 2011
at the National Press Club

On Tuesday, February 15, 2011, a group of U.S. military veterans who allege that they were raped or sexually assaulted during their international and domestic military service will discuss at the National Press Club at 9:30 a.m. Eastern, their forthcoming federal-court litigation, which will have been filed earlier on February 15, 2011.

Scheduled to speak at the news conference in the National Press Club Murrow Room are:

• Several of the veteran plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

• Keith Rohman, president, Public Interest Investigations, Inc. (PII), Los Angeles, Calif.

• Eleanor Smeal, president, Feminist Majority Foundation, Washington, D.C.

• Anuradha Bhagwati, executive director, Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN), New York, N.Y.

• A representative of the veterans’ legal team.

Contact: Erin Powers, Powers MediaWorks LLC, (281) 703-6000, info@powersmediaworks.com

To get some additional insight about why this lawsuit is necessary, read this.

Media reports and articles on this issue can be viewed at the links below:

Lawsuit to Claim Vets Were Sexually Assaulted  Navy Times, February 11, 2011

Congress Told That DOD Data on Sexual Assault and Rape in Military Is ‘Lacking in Accuracy, Reliability and Validity’   MSTNEWS,   February 15, 2010

National Press Club Schedule and Information