A picture of Representative Jackie Walorski
Jackie W.
Republican IN 2

About Rep. Jackie
  • Inspector General Investigation of Allegations of Retaliatory Personnel Actions Taken in Response to Making Protected Communications Regarding Sexual Assault

    by Representative Jackie Walorski

    Posted on 2013-06-26

    submit to reddit

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

    WALORSKI. Madam Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 1864) to amend title 10, United States Code, to require an Inspector General investigation of allegations of retaliatory personnel actions taken in response to making protected communications regarding sexual assault.



    The Clerk read the title of the bill.

    The text of the bill is as follows: H.R. 1864 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. INSPECTOR GENERAL INVESTIGATION OF ALLEGATIONS OF RETALIATORY PERSONNEL ACTIONS TAKEN IN RESPONSE TO MAKING PROTECTED COMMUNICATIONS REGARDING SEXUAL ASSAULT.

    Section 1034(c)(2)(A) of title 10, United States Code, is amended by striking ``sexual harassment or'' and inserting ``rape, sexual assault, or other sexual misconduct in violation of sections 920 through 920c of this title (articles 120 through 120c of the Uniform Code of Military Justice), sexual harassment, or''.

    [[Page H4058]] The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentlewoman from Indiana (Mrs. Walorski) and the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Loretta Sanchez) each will control 20 minutes.

    The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Indiana.

    General Leave Mrs. WALORSKI. Madam Speaker, I ask that all Members may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and insert extraneous material on the bill under consideration.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentlewoman from Indiana? There was no objection.

    Mrs. WALORSKI. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    Sexual assault in the military is maiming our troops. These aren't my words. They are the words of General Raymond Odierno, the Chief of Staff of the Army. He likened military sexual assault to other serious threats that our troops face downrange.

    The threat of sexual assault in the military is real. The wounds it inflicts on our servicemembers are also just as real.

    I introduced H.R. 1864 with my colleague and tireless advocate Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez. The bill on the floor today is the product of a lot of time and hard work.

    I remember sitting in the House Armed Services Committee hearing and becoming shocked as I learned firsthand about the widespread abuse at Lackland Air Force base. I remember thinking that our brave servicemembers deserve so much better and that those in charge deserve to be held accountable. After that hearing, I went to work.

    The bill we are debating today is a true bipartisan and bicameral reform that gets to the heart of this issue. It does so by addressing the challenges of sexual assault underreporting that has become too common in the military. The Pentagon estimates that there were approximately 26,000 victims of sexual assault last year. However, only roughly 3,600 victims actually filed reports.

    Many individuals don't come forward because they don't have confidence in the military justice system. Others don't come forward because they fear reprisal or they believe reporting another servicemember will negatively impact their own career. This lack of reporting, for whatever reason, demonstrates that we have a real problem.

    Before we can truly understand the scope of sexual assault in the military and how to best confront it, we have to find a way to encourage more victims to come forward. We have to find a way to empower the victims and restore their faith in the military justice system. That's what this bill does.

    H.R. 1864 strengthens existing military whistleblower protections and seeks to remove many of the fears and stigmas that deter reporting. The bill requires an inspector general investigation into suspected retaliation in response to allegations of sexual assault. This bill also seeks to help create an environment in the military where victims feel safe to come out of the darkness and to report these crimes of sexual violence.

    {time} 1420 It is reported that 62 percent of the servicemembers who experienced unwanted sexual contact felt as if they were being retaliated against in one form or another. This is completely unacceptable. Troops who have sacrificed so much for the cause of liberty should not be subject to reprisal after having just been subject to the emotional and physical pain of a sexual crime.

    H.R. 1864 is good policy, and the urgency of this issue demands that this Congress act today. Let's be a voice for the countless victims who have already come forward and for the countless more who are still unknown. Let's send a clear and resounding message to the Department of Defense and to those preying on our troops, which is that this type of behavior will no longer be tolerated.

    I ask my colleagues to do the right thing and join me in supporting this much-needed measure.

    I reserve the balance of my time.

    Ms. LORETTA SANCHEZ of California. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    I rise in support of H.R. 1864, introduced by me and my good friend and colleague, Mrs. Walorski from Indiana.

    H.R. 1864 amends title X of the United States Code: to require an inspector general investigation of allegations of retaliatory personnel actions taken in response to making protected communications regarding sexual assault.

    As the lead Democratic sponsor of this measure, I support the effort to protect military whistleblowers against reprisal for disclosing violations of law, for sexual assault and other prohibitive sexual misconduct. As such, I am pleased that this bill was also put into the National Defense Authorization Act just about 10 days ago on this House floor.

    People have asked me: Why are you bringing this up as a stand-alone bill? My answer is that, last year, we finished and approved and got the NDAA signed on the 31st of December.

    This bill really cannot wait. We need it today in the military because the biggest problem we have with respect to sexual assault is that the victims--the people who are being harassed and assaulted--are being retaliated against in the workplace. We do need this. There is no room for misbehavior of any kind, which may hinder the readiness, the morale, and the safety of our units. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure the passage of this important language.

    Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

    Mrs. WALORSKI. Madam Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to my friend and colleague, the chairman of the Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces, the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Turner).

  • submit to reddit
  • Register your constituent account to respond

    Constituent Register