Congressman Tim Ryan today voted in favor of H.R. 1864, a bill he co-sponsored with Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-46). The legislation requires the Inspector General to investigate allegations of retaliation in connection to a service member reporting an act of sexual violence and includes reports of sexual assault as a form of communication under military whistleblower protections. The bill is in response to a rise in sexual assaults in the military, and proposes that victims of sexual assault be protected from punishment for reporting incidents of sexual misconduct.
"It is disturbing to see the large number of sexual assaults that go unreported in our military each year," said Congressman Ryan. "Many of these incidents fail to be reported by the victims for fear they would be penalized or retaliated against. This legislation provides necessary protection as well as peace of mind for victims of sexual assault in the military, assuring them that their voices are being heard and justice is being served."
According to the Department of Defense, there were an estimated 26,000 victims of sexual violence in the military during 2012 -- a rate of over 71 per day. However, only 3,374 reports were filed by service members during that same period. While existing whistleblower laws are already in place, H.R. 1864 goes a step further and provides victims with the assurance that they cannot be threatened or punished for reporting sexual assault.