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Two Senators Are Blocking Military Sexual Assault Reform

Guillen family.jpeg
Stars and Stripes
Spc. Vanessa Guillen's sister, Lupe, speaks at a news conference marking the first anniversary of the Fort Hood soldier's killing, April 22, 2021 at the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.

On this edition of Your Call, we’re discussing the epidemic of sexual assault in the military. In 2020, of the more than 6,200 sexual assault reports made by US service members, only half ended in convictions.

Last year, the murder of Specialist Vanessa Guillén in Fort Hood, Texas sparked a nationwide reckoning. For nearly a decade, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat from New York, has introduced legislation to put independent prosecutors in charge of prosecuting major military crimes, rather than than chain of command. Advocates say two Senators, James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, and Jack Reed, a Democrat from Rhode Island, are blocking the legislation.


Col. Don Christensen, former Chief Prosecutor of the US Air Force and President of Protect Our Defenders, a non-profit human rights organization dedicated to ending sexual violence, victim retaliation, sexual prejudice and racism in the military

Web Resources: 

The New York Times Magazine, Melinda Wenner Moyer: ‘A Poison in the System’: The Epidemic of Military Sexual Assault

The New York Times, Jennifer Steinhauer: Biden Supports Changing Military Law on Sexual Assault Cases

The New York Times, The Two Men Blocking Military Sexual Assault Reform

The Augusta Chronicle, Abraham Kenmore: Changes for military sexual assault, major crimes may pass Congress

KALW: #IAmVanessaGuillén: Survivors Share Sexual Assault Stories In The Military & Demand Systemic Change

Lea is a producer for Your Call on KALW Local Public Radio. She graduated from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY in 2018.
Rose Aguilar has been the host of Your Call since 2006. She became a regular media roundtable guest in 2001. In 2019, the San Francisco Press Club named Your Call the best public affairs program. In 2017, The Nation named it the most valuable local radio show.