Military Sexual Trauma Victims Supported by Gillibrand Legislation

Military Sexual Trauma Victims Supported by Gillibrand Legislation

CONTACT: Carlisle Williams (212) 982-9699 or press@iava.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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 Military Sexual Trauma Victims Supported by Gillibrand Legislation

IAVA Supports Military Justice Improvement Act to change how sexual assaults in the military are reported and prosecuted

 NEW YORK – (May 16, 2013) – Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) today announced its support for new legislation, the Military Justice Improvement Act of 2013 introduced by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, which would help combat sexual assaults in the military. The legislation would designate that sexual assault cases be removed from the chain of command and allow victims to report their assault directly to a prosecutor.  Senators Richard Blumenthal, Barbara Boxer, and Al Franken are also sponsors of the bill.

Last week, the Pentagon reported that the number of servicemembers who anonymously reported some form of unwanted sexual contact rose from 19,300 in 2011 to about 26,000 in 2012.

“Last week’s Pentagon report was a massive wake-up call that compels us to meaningfully reexamine how we prevent sexual assaults within the military and help victims of military sexual trauma,” said Paul Rieckhoff, founder and CEO of IAVA. “We support Senator Gillibrand’s common sense proposal.  IAVA will continue to work with members from both parties to strengthen our efforts to combat military sexual assaults and support victims, including tens of thousands of servicemembers who have sexual trauma claims trapped in the VA backlog.”

Phoebe Gavin, an Iraq veteran and IAVA member, was herself a victim of military sexual trauma: “No servicemember should have to experience military sexual trauma while they are fighting to protect their country – and if they are, they should be afforded every opportunity to seek justice. This is a top issue for me and other IAVA members and we appreciate the leadership of Senators Gillibrand and Boxer on our behalf,” Gavin said.

Note to media: Please contact press@iava.org if you would like to speak with Phoebe Gavin on the issue.

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