'Huge win for victims of sexual assault': Congress sends defense bill to Obama
By Donna Cassata, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON -- The women of the Senate who led the fight to change how the military deals with sexual assault in its ranks are hailing passage of a comprehensive defense bill that now heads to President Barack Obama for his signature.
The legislation would strip military commanders of their ability to overturn jury convictions, require a civilian review if a commander declines to prosecute a case and require that any individual convicted of sexual assault face a dishonorable discharge or dismissal. The bill also would provide victims with legal counsel, eliminate the statute of limitations for courts-martial in rape and sexual assault cases, and criminalize retaliation against victims who report a sexual assault.
The bill also would change the military's Article 32 proceedings to limit intrusive questioning of victims, making it more similar to a grand jury, a change backed by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, especially Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and McCaskill, grilled the chiefs about whether the military's mostly male leadership understands differences between relatively minor sexual offenses and serious crimes that deserve swift and decisive justice.
"Not every single commander necessarily wants women in the force. Not every single commander believes what a sexual assault is. Not every single commander can distinguish between a slap on the ass and a rape because they merge all of these crimes together," Gillibrand said. [Emphasis added.]
Lots of good (i.e., bad) stuff here. As near as I can tell, Congress is addressing the difference between “sexual assault” and rape by punishing them the same? They continue to turn morning-after regrets into criminal rape?
Like everything else our government does these days, this legislation is evil and stupid. But it isn't like I have a dog in this fight, after all. The counterpart to my advice on how to avoid rape -- don’t be a drunken slut -- is my advice on how to avoid false rape accusations -- don’t patronize the company of drunken sluts. It's really that simple.
- For how many other offenses is a dishonorable discharge required by federal law?
- For how many other categories of victims is legal counsel provided?
- For how many other categories of victims are there limitations on cross-examination?
- Does the legislation prevent the overturning of all courts-martial convictions or only for sex assault?
- Does the legislation require civilian review of decisions to decline prosecution for all criminal allegations, or just sexual assault?