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):
Arkansas: BOOZMAN, John (R-AR) SH-320 202-224-4843
Colorado: BENNET, Michael F. (D-CO) SR-458 202-224-5852
Connecticut: MURPHY, Christopher (D-CT) SH-303 202-224-4041
Georgia: ISAKSON, Johnny (R-GA) SR-131 202-224-3643
Idaho: CRAPO, Mike (R-ID) SD-239 202-224-6142
Idaho: RISCH, James E. (R-ID) SR-483 202-224-2752
Illinois: KIRK, Mark (R-IL) SH-524 202-224-2854
Illinois: DURBIN, Richard J. (D-IL) SH-711 202-224-2152
Indiana: COATS, Daniel (R-IN) SR-493 202-224-5623
Kentucky: McCONNELL, Mitch (R-KY) SR-317 202-224-2541
Louisiana: LANDRIEU, Mary L. (D-LA) SH-703 202-224-5824
Montana: BAUCUS, Max (D-MT) SH-511 202-224-2651
Montana: TESTER, Jon (D-MT) SH-706 202-224-2644
Nevada: REID, Harry (D-NV) SH-522 202-224-3542
North Carolina: BURR, Richard (R-NC) SR-217 202-224-3154
Ohio: BROWN, Sherrod (D-OH) SH-713 202-224-2315
Oklahoma: COBURN, Tom (R-OK) SR-172 202-224-5754
Pennsylvania: TOOMEY, Patrick J. (R-PA) SR-248 202-224-4254
Rhode Island: WHITEHOUSE, Sheldon (D-RI) SH-530 202-224-2921
Texas: CORNYN, John (R-TX) SH-517 202-224-2934
Virginia: WARNER, Mark R. (D-VA) SR-475 202-224-2023
Wyoming: ENZI, Michael B. (R-WY) SR-379A 202-224-3424
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:
- Gillibrand website info
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:
BALDWIN, Tammy (D-WI) SH-717 202-224-5653
BEGICH, Mark (D-AK) SR-111 202-224-3004
BLUMENTHAL, Richard (D-CT) SH-724 202-224-2823
BOXER, Barbara (D-CA) SH-112 202-224-3553
CANTWELL, Maria (D-WA) SH-311 202-224-3441
CARDIN, Benjamin (D-MD) SH-509 202-224-4524
CARPER, Thomas R. (D-DE) SH-513 202-224-2441
CASEY, Jr., Robert . (D-PA) SR-393 202-224-6324
COLLINS, Susan (R-ME) SD-413 202-224-2523
COONS, Christopher A. (D-DE) SR-127A 202-224-5042
FEINSTEIN, Dianne (D-CA) SH-331 202-224-3841
FRANKEN, Al (D-MN) SH-309 202-224-5641
GILLIBRAND, Kirsten E. (D-NY) SR-478 202-224-4451
GRASSLEY, Chuck (R-IA) SH-135 202-224-3744
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 @Thunderclapit in support of #MJIA: http://bit.ly/1dCJudg
- [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
- Thanks to @SenatorVitter @tedcruz @RandPaulSenate for supporting @SenGillibrand bill to combat military sexual assault! #MJIA
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
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