WASHINGTON (KCBS) – Calling the sexual assault of service members in the military a silent epidemic, Peninsula Congresswoman Jackie Speier is introducing legislation to change how cases are investigated.

The new law would put outside investigators in charge of sexual assault and rape cases.

A 2010 Department of Defense survey of active duty members found that out of the 19,000 rapes and sexual assaults that year, just over 3,100 were actually reported, and only 529 of those were prosecuted.

Speier said that this has created a culture where victims have a lack of faith that they’ll be treated fairly by the military’s chain of command.

“If you enlist in the military you have a higher risk of getting violated, or having acts of violence done against you by a fellow soldier, than you are by the enemy,” said Speier.

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

Speier’s said the Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention, or STOP Act, would create an independent office of civilian and military experts to handle the cases as is already done in the UK, Australia and Canada.

“To have other officers or enlisted people prey on new recruits is just unthinkable to me,” said Speier.

Speier was joined by a dozen male and female victims of rape and sexual assault while in the military when she introduced the STOP Act in Washington D.C.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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