July 22, 2013
URGENT ALERT: Military Sexual Assault Legislation Gaining Momentum! Ask Your Senators to Add Their Support So Bill Passes on Senate Floor!
For the first time in decades, we have a real chance to reform the military justice system and address the epidemic of sexual assault! Senator Gillibrand’s legislation, ensuring that professional military prosecutors are responsible for investigating and prosecuting sexual assault cases, is gaining momentum!
Here is what you need to know: every 21 minutes, a service member is assaulted. In 2012 alone, there were 26,000 cases of unwanted sexual contact. Only 9.8% of victims ever report these devastating crimes, citing fear of retaliation, and the majority of those who do report experience social, administrative or professional retaliation within their unit. For decades, military leaders have promised to try harder to end this scourge of violence but sexual assault in the military remains an epidemic.
Senator Gillibrand’s (D-NY) Military Justice Improvement Act (S. 967) has 36 bipartisan co-sponsors and 2 more Republican Senators, Senator Cruz (R-TX) and Senator Paul (R-KY), pledged their support to her bill! This legislation would reform the military justice system by authorizing professional military prosecutors to make decisions about which cases should proceed to trial. Under the current system, commanding officers, not trained legal experts, have the sole authority to decide whether a case is brought to trial. Senator Gillibrand plans to offer her bill as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that could be considered by the Senate as early as this month! We need every single Senator, especially those who have not yet signed onto the bill, to co-sponsor this measure and support it as an amendment on the Senate floor. The vote could occur in the next two weeks before Congress goes home for their August recess.
Please take urgent action now to ensure that Senator Gillibrand’s bill passes the Senate when it is considered in the coming weeks!
ACTION ITEM 1): CONTACT YOUR SENATORS ON THE TARGET LIST BELOW AND URGE THEM TO CO-SPONSOR THE MILITARY JUSTICE IMPROVEMENT ACT!
Senate Target List (Senators not yet on the bill or openly in support):
When you call, be sure to ask to speak to the staff person who handles military/defense legislation and say:
· I am a constituent from [city and state] and my name is _________.
- I urge Senator [insert name] to co-sponsor S. 967, The Military Justice Improvement Act, which will hold perpetrators of sexual assault accountable for their actions and provide victims of military sexual assault access to safety and justice.
- Thank the staffer for their time.
Don’t forget to call back and contact your other Senator if they have not yet signed on!
Resources for your phone call:
Below are the Senators who have already co-sponsored the bill. If you have a moment, call and thank them:
Co-sponsors of S. 967:
CARPER, Thomas R. (D-DE) SH-513 202-224-2441
HARKIN, Tom (D-IA) SH-731 202-224-3254
HEINRICH, Martin (D-NM) SH-702 202-224-5521
HEITKAMP, Heidi (D-ND) SH-502 202-224-2043
HIRONO, Mazie K. (D-HI) SH-330 202-224-6361
JOHANNS, Mike (R-NE) SR-404 202-224-4224
JOHNSON, Tim (D-SD) SH-136 202-224-5842
LEAHY, Patrick J. (D-VT) SR-437 202-224-4242
MARKEY, EDWARD (D – MA) SR-218 202-224-2742
MENENDEZ, Robert (D-NJ) SH-528 202-224-4744
MERKLEY, Jeff (D-OR) SH-313 202-224-3753
MIKULSKI, Barbara A. (D-MD) SH-503 202-224-4654
MURKOWSKI, Lisa (R-AK) SH-709 202-224-6665
PRYOR, Mark L. (D-AR) SD-255 202-224-2353
ROCKEFELLER, John. (D-WV) SH-531 202-224-6472
SANDERS, Bernard (I-VT) SD-332 202-224-5141
SCHATZ, Brian (D-HI) SH-722 202-224-3934
SCHUMER, Charles E. (D-NY) SH-322 202-224-6542
SHAHEEN, Jeanne (D-NH) SH-520 202-224-2841
UDALL, Tom (D-NM) SH-110 202-224-6621
VITTER, David (R-LA) SH-516 202-224-4623
WARREN, Elizabeth (D-MA) SH-317 202-224-4543
WYDEN, Ron (D-OR) SD-221 202-224-5244
Senators who have pledged their support for the bill:
CRUZ, Ted (R-TX) SD-185 202-224-5922
PAUL, Rand (R-KY) SR-124 202-224-4343
Voted for Gillibrand in Armed Services Committee (3)
DONNELLY, Joe (D-IN) SH-720 202-224-4814
HAGAN, Kay R. (D-NC) SD-521 202-224-6342
UDALL, Mark (D-CO) SH-730 202-224-5941
ACTION ITEM 2): USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO CONTACT YOUR SENATORS!
Find your Senators’ Twitter handles here and use our sample tweets below:
Lend your voice to victims of military sexual assault & join @SenGillibrand’s @
[insert Twitter handle] Protect those who protect our country! Support the Military Justice Improvement Act. #militarysexualassault #EndMilitaryRape #MJIA
[insert Twitter handle] Victims of sexual assault in the military deserve safety & justice. Support S. 967 #militarysexualassault #MJIA #NotInvisible
Sample Facebook post:
Please contact your Senators today and urge them to support Senator Gillibrand’s Military Justice Improvement Act that would reform the military justice system to finally protect victims of sexual assault! By authorizing trained, professional military prosecutors, not commanding officers, to make decisions about sexual assault cases, victims will finally see the justice they deserve. This legislation could come to a vote on the Senate floor as early as next week- and we need every Senator’s support. Service men and women have fought hard to defend our country- now we have a chance to stand up for them. #MJIA
For more information, fact sheets, press coverage, support letters and Updates: www.4vawa.org.
Follow us on Twitter at @NTFVAWA and “like” our Facebook page.
If you aren’t on one of the VAWA email lists or want to add members of your staff or state/community leaders to our grassroots alerts e-mailing list, send names and contact information including email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more info, go to www.4vawa.org.