Congress takes a decisive step to eradicate the phenomenon of rape in the ranks of the US military

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Congress takes a decisive step to eradicate the phenomenon of rape in the ranks of the US military

Reuters

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After years of debate, Congress decided to change the way the US military deals with sexual assault cases, by shifting some power from the hands of military leaders to independent prosecutors.

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Spurred by a growing number of sexual misconduct cases in the military, and backed by US President Joe Biden and top Pentagon leaders, the changes were included in a broader defense bill passed by the House late Tuesday and heading to the Senate almost certainly for approval.

But several senators on Wednesday, led by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, said the measure was not enough, and that the Pentagon was able to successfully argue against excluding leaders entirely from consideration of these issues.

However, Representative Jackie Speer, chair of the House Armed Services Subcommittee, called the decision a historic change “the likes of which we haven’t seen in more than 70 years.”

“By moving the decision to prosecute a service member for rape, domestic violence, murder and other serious crimes, from the chain of command to an independent military prosecutor, we are finally healing the massive wound of sexual assault survivors and providing a path to justice,” Hillsborough Democrat said.

The campaign to improve military prosecutions has struggled for years, but it gained momentum when Lloyd J. Austin as Secretary of Defense in the United States of America.

Reports of sexual assaults in the military have risen steadily since 2006, according to Department of Defense reports, including a 13% increase in 2018, and a 3% increase in 2019.

Source: “Los Angeles Times”





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