A new piece of legislation responds to sexual harassment and abuse in the military services, led by Congresswoman Jackie Speier, Chair of the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee, and Congressman Markwayne Mullin.
“The legislation responds to these resounding calls for change by offering provisions that would revolutionize the military’s response to missing servicemembers and reports of sexual harassment and sexual assault by making sexual harassment a crime within the Uniform Code of Military Justice and moving prosecution decisions of sexual assault and sexual harassment cases out of the chain of command,” according to a press release from Rep. Speier.
Specifics of the legislation includes:
- Move prosecution decisions on sexual assault and sexual harassment cases outside of the chain of command to an Office of the Chief Prosecutor within each military service;
- Create a standalone military offense for sexual harassment;
- Establish trained sexual harassment investigators who are outside of the chain of command of the complainant and the accused
The bill is co-lead by Reps. Sylvia Garcia, John Carter, Veronica Escobar, Pete Olson, Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr., Troy Balderson, Jason Crow, and Will Hurd, as well as 94 additional co-sponsors.
“The endless cycle of harassment, assault, and retaliation for those who speak out reveals the deep roots of a toxic culture we must eradicate so that survivors are taken seriously and treated with respect, and assailants are held accountable,” wrote Chair Speier.
“The I Am Vanessa Guillén Act would do this by providing survivors independent investigations for both sexual harassment and sexual assault reports and independent charging decisions for courts-martial,” she wrote.
Photo from the Guillen family