Working to Stop Retaliation

Two senators on Thursday introduced legislation that would make retaliation a specific offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, require special training for investigators who handle retaliation complaints, and require the Pentagon to collect and publish retaliation data. The bill, aimed at reducing retaliation against victims of sexual assault in the military, is sponsored by Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa). McCaskill has successfully pushed for other reforms intended to reduce the number of sexual assaults in the military, and told reporters that while there has been progress, she is troubled by a survey that found 62 percent of women who reported unwanted sexual contact later experienced retaliation. Ernst, who retired as a lieutenant colonel from the Iowa Army National Guard, said that while the senators would “like to eliminate sexual assault, period, in our armed forces,” if it can’t be prevented, “what we need to do is make sure our victims are protected.” (Read a summary of the bill, or read the full legislation.)