Congressman Mike Turner, Co-Chair of the Military Sexual Assault Prevention Caucus, spoke on the House Floor today in support of bipartisan legislation (H.R. 1864), authored by Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-2), which provides whistleblower protections for victims of military sexual assault. The legislation also strengthens existing protection laws to clarify that victims of sexual crimes are protected from punishment for reporting sexual assault. Turner is a co-sponsor of the legislation and voted in favor of the House passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which included H.R. 1864 as a provision.
H.R. 1864 follows a 2008 GAO report which stated that “many individuals do not come forward in the military out of fear of punishment because they have done something (i.e. drinking, leaving the barracks) that they could also get in trouble for.” The same report stated that some service members believe that there is no point in reporting the incident if the perpetrator is of a higher rank, for fear of not being believed, and that victims were reluctant to report attacks “for a variety of reasons, including the belief that nothing would be done or that reporting an incident would negatively impact their careers.”
Turner has included a number of additional provisions in this year’s House passed NDAA to combat sexual assault in the military.