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26,000-Letter Project Original mission
The most recent Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Annual Report released May 2013 (http://www.sapr.mil/index.php/annual-reports) states that at least 26,000 military service members were sexually assaulted in 2012. Every few months, members of the United States Congress call survivors to Washington, D.C. to testify. We go, hoping for real change, we describe what was done to us, the consequential suffering and struggles the assaults have caused, not only in our lives but the lives of our loved ones. Then, Congress does nothing…and awhile later, they ask for more of us to testify. Since the report and its 26,000 appeared to catch the attention of Congress, perhaps they will listen and take significant action if they hear from us in huge numbers, like 26,000. We invite you to participate in the exciting and unique “26,000-Letter Project.”
This is a report put out by Human Rights Watch about retaliation in the ranks
Link to the Senate Website
Link to House Website
Link to a website where you find information about what bills are currently up for consideration and the status of bills
One of the new elements to this years survey is Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will be getting copies of all your letters/surveys. She was very interested in seeing them but since we had started down the path of only your representatives there was no way to start over. I learned and this year she will have more facts to back up her claims that this Military Justice Improvement Act is what will make a difference in the number of rapes, assaults and harassment. That it will be a justice system that is fair to both victim and alleged perpetrator.
Goals and Objectives
Our aim is to tell Congress about:
- Care of the victim when they report the assault To pass a bill similar to the Military Justice Improvement Act.by Sen Gillibrand (NY) that removes the reporting and adjudication of the serious crimes out of the hands of mid-level commanders.
2. Clear the backlog of current claims that affects survivors from all era. All claims need to be adjudicated faster but for MST claims the stakes are higher. Studies have shown that there is more of a risk of homelessness among survivors.
That combined with the another recent study that show women veterans are more successful when they choose suicide
3. Ease the level of proof needed for MST versus combat related PTSD. Often MST crimes go unreported or when those crimes are reported, the investigation is "sanitized" making proof hard to come by. Passing The Ruth Moore Act or similar legislation to make the level of proof on par with combat claims. From Rep Pingree website
Latest Title: To amend title 38, United States Code, to improve the disability compensation evaluation procedure of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder or mental health conditions related to military sexual trauma, and for other purposes.
Latest Title: A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to improve the disability compensation evaluation procedure of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder or mental health conditions related to military sexual trauma, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen Tester, Jon [MT] (introduced 7/20/2011) Cosponsors (4)
Related Bills: H.R.930
Latest Major Action: 6/27/2012 Senate committee/subcommittee actions. Status: Committee on Veterans' Affairs. Hearings held. Hearings printed: S.Hrg. 112-668.
4. Improve the care and treatment options for MST related PTSD diagnosis by hiring staff specifically trained in trauma therapy, have gender specific treatment for MST at all VA facilities or facilitate with local resources.