WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. House unanimously approved a measure authored by U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski meant to address military sexual assaults.
House Resolution 1864, which would extend whistle blower protections to military sexual assault victims, passed unanimously, 423-0. It was Walorski’s first standalone bill.
“Every day our brave service members put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms from foreign threats. It is unthinkable that our troops should face the additional and unacceptable threat of sexual assault from within their very own ranks, and I am proud my first bill in Congress will work toward ending violence in the armed forces,” Walorski, a Republican from Elkhart, said in a statement.
The measure calls for investigations into allegations of retaliation in connection with service members’ reports of sexual violence. A similar provision is included in the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act as well and a companion bill has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.
According to a recent Pentagon report, there were an estimated 26,000 sexual assault cases involving service members last year alone, with only 3,600 cases reported, according to Walorski’s statement. The report also found that 62 percent of those who have been assaulted went on to experience some form of retaliation.
“With the growing epidemic of sexual assault, our service members deserve immediate action to eradicate future violence and establish safe reporting,” Walorski said.