Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, co-chair of the Military Sexual Assault Prevention Caucus and top Democrat on the House Armed Services Subcommittee for Oversight and Investigations, was briefed this morning by the Department of Defense (DoD) on their annual report on sexual assault in the military.
Congresswoman Tsongas released the following statement.
"This morning I received a briefing from the Department of Defense on their annual Sexual Assault Prevention & Response report. The statistics continue to demonstrate the seriousness of this problem and support the need to root out the pervasive cultural flaw plaguing our armed forces.
"Specifically, the DoD report indicates a staggering amount of instances of perceived retaliation against victims of sexual assault, which confirms the alarming and persistent anecdotal evidence we have heard.
"Furthermore, the alleged recent sexual misconduct of an Air Force official in charge of the Air Force's own sexual assault prevention and response office serves to undermine any progress the DoD report may indicate and exemplifies the total break in trust that has been the disturbing hallmark of so many military sexual assault cases.
"We have a long way to go toward combating and preventing sexual assault in the military and I am committed to continuing my work with my colleagues in Congress on this critical national security issue."
Contents of the report will be made public later today by the DoD.
Congresswoman Tsongas will be available to discuss the DoD report and the issue of military sexual assault with the media throughout the day.