Friday, June 14, 2013

WATCH: Rep. Barber's Floor Speech On Combating Military Sexual Assaults Problem; Stripping Commanders of Right To Reduce/Dismiss Sentences, Requiring Dismissal/Dishonorable Discharge, Additional Victims' Protections

As the House of Representatives is debating and voting on amendments to the defense re-authorization bill today, here is Arizona Rep. Ron Barber's (D-CD2) brief speech on the House Floor Wednesday urging his colleagues to support the provisions inserted by the House Armed Services Committee (on which Barber sits).  The new measures include "stripping military commanders of the power to overturn convictions in rape and sexual assault cases" and imposing a minimum sentence of  dismissal from service or a dishonorable discharge for anyone found guilty of a sex-related crime.

Below the video of Barber's one-minute speech is the text (as provided by his office):

(text below the jump)

Madam Speaker, this week we will vote on the National Defense Authorization Act.
As we debate this important legislation, we must keep in mind the deeply troubling problem of sexual assault within our military.
The vast majority of men and women who are in our armed services serve with honor and distinction, but their dedication is undermined by those who commit sexual assaults.
Last year, nearly 1 out of every 16 active duty women reported having been the victim of unwanted sexual contact.
This is a deplorable situation.

Last week, in a truly bipartisan manner the Armed Services Committee produced a bill that we will debate today. It prohibits the dismissal or reduction of guilty verdicts in sexual assault convictions.
It makes sure those who are found guilty of these heinous crimes will be discharged from the military and adds other important protections for victims of sexual assault.

As leaders, we have a duty to protect those who protect us. Thank you Madam Speaker, I yield back.

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