Gillibrand says she isn't giving up on military sexual assault bill

Apr 21, 2014

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) says in the next few months she is going to revive her military sexual assault bill, which changes how those types of crimes are prosecuted by the military. The legislation failed last month following a filibuster.

Gillibrand says her bill, which would allow military prosecutors to handle sexual assault cases instead of officers in the regular chain of command, still has the support of 55 senators, including Republicans.

"This is a reform that is necessary," Gillibrand said. "It's not one you can fix with window dressing. You have to improve the military justice system to create the credibility that creates the trust, so that reporting will go up."

The senator said earlier this week that the thousands of service members who are sexually assaulted each year need to be able to trust the people they're reporting the crimes to.

"I care deeply about the men and women who serve our country," Gillibrand said. "I think they are some of the most courageous, brave, amazing people in our country. And one thing they should not have to endure is sexual assault or rape at the hand, not of some foreign enemy, but someone in their own ranks."

Gillibrand says the reason nine out of ten victims of sexual assault don't report is because they don't trust that the chain of command will do anything to help them. According to the Pentagon, there were more than 3,500 sexual assaults last year, 43 percent more than 2012.