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Inspector General Investigation of Allegations of Retaliatory Personnel Actions Taken in Response to Making Protected Communications Regarding Sexual Assault

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mrs. BLACKBURN. Madam Speaker, I want to express my gratitude to the gentlewoman from Indiana (Mrs. Walorski) for the leadership she has brought to this issue, and for the bipartisan manner in which she and Ranking Member Sanchez have approached this issue to bring together a bill which we can focus on, we can agree on, and we can pass to address a problem that does need our attention and our best efforts.

We have heard about the 26,000 estimated sexual assaults that are taking place in our military each year. Now, as we look at those numbers, we have to look at the number that are reported--3,374. That is the number of reports--3,374. More stunning is the number of convictions--238 convictions. That is what we have learned from this DOD report. As we've heard, the reason given for the lack of reporting is because so many fear retaliation and the fact that it would negatively impact their career. Sixty-two percent--62 percent--give that as their reason.

I think the scope of the problem is much larger than we know at this point in time, and here is an example. On May 15, police arrested Fort Campbell's sexual harassment prevention manager on charges involving stalking his ex-wife. That's important to me and my district because Fort Campbell is in my district. Now, if you can't turn to the people who are there to protect, who are you going to go to when you have one of these situations?

As a woman and as a strong supporter of our Nation's military, I find it absolutely appalling that any woman who has been the victim of crime should have to fear reporting her perpetrator for fear of retaliation.

Again, Madam Speaker, I want to thank the two Members who have worked so diligently on this, Mrs. Walorski and Ms. Sanchez.


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