Massachusetts U.S. Senator Calls Military Sexual Assault An Epidemic

Last week the Senate blocked a bill that would have stripped senior military commanders of their authority to prosecute rapes and other serious offenses in the ranks.

Another bill dealing with some of the same issues is slated to come up for a vote Monday and Massachusetts U.S. Senator Ed Markey says he’ll support it.

The vote last Thursday rejecting Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s bill was vigorously opposed by the Pentagon’s leadership. And the showdown capped a nearly yearlong campaign by Gillibrand. But the Senate also unanimously cleared the way for a vote on legislation sponsored by Senator Claire McCaskill that enables victims to have a say in whether their cases are heard in the military or civil justice system.

Markey says he believes the “rules have to change. That women and men that are sexually abused in the military must have protections against being intimidated by their superiors.”

While Markey describes the McCaskiil bill as a step in the right direction. He believes more will need to be done to face what he calls an epidemic of sexual abuse in the military.