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In 1989, I volunteered for the U.S. Navy. I was assigned a duty station in Adak, Alaska. I got there on Valentine's Day,
and within two months, I was raped for the first time.
The people involved in my rapes were military police personnel, security personnel, higher-ranking officers—the people that I would have gone to and reported. And so, I have never had the opportunity to actually report it to anyone.
According to estimates from the Department of Defense, 19,000 service men and women are sexually assaulted while serving in the United States military every year. But 86% of them never report their assault—too often because seeking justice threatens their safety, their job security, and their future.
That's why I created a petition urging the U.S. Senate to ensure that survivors of military sexual assault are not invisible and receive the justice they deserve. Congress must amend the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and move the prosecution of military sexual assault out of the chain of command.
The petition says:
Only the U.S. Congress can amend the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The U.S. Senate must act swiftly to move the decision to prosecute sexual assault in the military out of the chain of command. Survivors should not suffer retribution for speaking up, and rape should never be an "occupational hazard." Only Congress can change the UCMJ to create a real, working system for prosecuting sexual predators in the military—and ultimately putting an end to military sexual assault.