05/14/13 As the only Republican freshman, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) was invited to join a bipartisan meeting with White House senior advisers to discuss legislation geared toward reducing military sexual violence, including her bill on whistle-blower protections for military sexual assault victims last week.
“It was a privilege to join my colleagues and discuss important measures that will encourage reporting and prevent future cases of sexual assault in the military,” said Walorski, a member of the House Armed Services Committee. “Thursday’s meeting was a necessary step toward developing a bipartisan approach to pass legislation that protects our service-members and eradicates this frightening situation.”
Walorski introduced a bipartisan bill with Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-46) providing survivors of military sexual violence with the same protections as other military whistle-blowers. The bill strengthens existing laws to clarify that victims of sexual crimes are protected from punishment for reporting sexual assault.
During fiscal year 2011, the Department of Defense reported an estimated 19,000 victims of sexual violence in the military, but only 2,723 service-members filed a report of sexual assault. The Department of Defense also found that victims often do not come forward because they worry about retaliation or fear that reporting a fellow service-member may negatively impact their career. On Tuesday, the Pentagon released a new report stating a disturbing rise in sexual assault in the military.