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Mr. RODNEY DAVIS of Illinois. Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 1864. This legislation addresses a serious problem in our military--sexual assault.
Today's legislation is absolutely critical for creating an environment where victims feel comfortable enough to report crimes of sexual violence. I'm proud to be a cosponsor of this important piece of legislation. With reports of 26,000 instances of unwanted sexual contact, we must continue to address this unacceptable culture within our military. The lack of reporting in instances of sexual assault is alarming to say the least.
The Department of Defense estimates that only 14 percent of victims of sexual abuse actually report assaults. Today I am voting to end this culture. I'm voting to encourage a reporting of sexual assault in an environment where our soldiers will not fear for loss of their job.
My good friend and my colleague Congresswoman Walorski's bill provides protections against retaliation for those that report instances of sexual abuse. Because of her bill, an investigation must be launched in response to any retaliatory action taken against someone that reports an instance of sexual abuse. As a Nation, we have made great strides with women in the military. We need to build upon our efforts to ensure that these women are in an environment where they can feel safe.
I have a daughter who is 2 years away from being eligible to serve our country in the military. I would like to know if she chose to serve our country that she would not be entering the type of culture that currently exists.
I support this bill for all of the fathers like me and mothers and wives and kids who send their loved ones to serve in our great military in this great Nation. We owe those men and women in uniform who sacrifice so much for this country a culture of respect and security.
I know I will be thinking of those victims as I vote today, and for all those that felt their career would be hurt if they were to actually report an instance of sexual assault.
I want to thank again my friend, my colleague, Congresswoman Walorski, for allowing me the time to speak and for her leadership on this very important issue.
I strongly support this bill and urge my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on H.R. 1864, providing protections to those who report sexual assault in the military.
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