Congresswoman Jackie Speier – 2013-05-26 02:19:05
STOP Act: Put an End to Sexual Violence in the Military
Congresswoman Jackie Speier
To be delivered to: The United States House of Representatives and The United States Senate
Below is an email from Congresswoman Jackie Speier and Courage Campaign. Congresswoman Speier started a petition on the MoveOn website, where anyone can start their own online petition.
Sexual violence in the US military is a crisis. The Pentagon estimates that sexual assaults increased from 19,000 in 2011 to 26,000 in 2012. That’s 71 sexual assaults EVERY DAY, and in roughly 56% of cases, the victims are men.
Making matters worse, each branch of the armed forces has its own judicial system, and it’s currently legal for base commanders to overturn a jury’s guilty verdict, as happened at Aviano Air Force Base in February 2013.
The STOP (Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention) Act takes the prosecution, reporting, oversight, investigation, and victim care of sexual assaults out of the normal military chain of command — which has proven grossly ineffective — and places jurisdiction in an autonomous Sexual Assault Oversight and Response Office.
That’s why I started a petition to the United States Congress, which says:
I stand with Congresswoman Jackie Speier in support of the Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention Act (STOP Act) to end military rape.
— Congresswoman Jackie Speier
This petition was created by the Courage Campaign on on MoveOn Petitions Political Action Edition, which is licensed to and paid for by MoveOn.org Political Action. We are not responsible for the contents of this or other petitions posted on the site. The Courage Campaign didn’t pay us to send this email — we never rent or sell the MoveOn.org list.
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ACTION Protect DOD Rape Victim
Demand Sec. Hagel Remove
Two Air Force Fighter Pilots Following
Aviano Sexual Assault Scandal
Last month with a flick of his pen, Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin set justice aside and overruled a jury’s verdict convicting Lt. Col. James Wilkerson of aggravated sexual assault of a civilian contractor at Aviano Air Base.
As his punishment, Wilkerson was dismissed from the Air Force and sentenced to one year in jail. Franklin’s reversal freed his fellow fighter pilot and reinstated him back into the Air Force.
To General Franklin, it didn’t matter that Wilkerson had failed a lie-detector test or that his own legal counsel recommended against overruling the verdict. Instead, Franklin claimed that Wilkerson’s conviction and punishment should be overturned in part because he was described as a “doting father and husband.”
Franklin failed to mention that Wilkerson had a long history of misconduct. This, “model officer”, had already been caught peeking over a bathroom stall while a subordinate’s wife urinated. Wilkerson egregiously violated safety standards, pulled rank to fend off law enforcement officials, was abusive to fellow military officials — and that’s just what we know so far.
Despite strong corroborating testimony from independent witnesses and clear supporting facts on the record, Franklin, who did not attend the trial, decided that he did not believe the victim. Heard that before? Unless Franklin is dismissed from the service for his biased and unfounded reversal of Wilkerson’s conviction, Franklin’s actions will have a chilling effect on victims who might otherwise report being sexually assaulted.
The attack at Aviano is just one of almost twenty thousand similar incidents occurring every year throughout the military. Eighty-five percent of victims do not report the crime, mainly out of fear of retaliation, and not being believed.
Most disturbing of all, out of the 3,200 cases reported in 2010, less than 190 reports of sexual assault in the military actually ended in a conviction. Wilkerson’s conviction was one of those rare instances where justice was served — or so it seemed. The survivor’s family members led a protest outside Wilkerson’s new base, which was featured in AP’s Big Story of the Week.
Please join us: Tell Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to protect our service members from rape and sexual assault! Remove Lt. Gen. Franklin and Lt. Col. Wilkerson from the United States Air Force.
The only way to end the epidemic of sexual assault in the military is to hold leaders, like Franklin, who cover up and condone these crimes and those who commit the crimes, like Wilkerson, accountable. Our service members deserve better. Our country deserves better.
Sign The Petition: Click here.
Protect Our Defenders
We now have over 5,000 signatures calling for the removal of Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin & Lt. Col. James Wilkerson from the United States Air Force!
Thank you to all who have signed the petition for speaking out and supporting victims and survivors of the horrific epidemic of rape and sexual assault in the military.Please share this petition on Facebook and Twitter, and email the link to the petition to anyone you know. We want to send a strong message to Secretary Hagel that this culture of rape and sexual assault in the United States military is unacceptable and we will not stand for it.