Continuing to Battle Sexual Assault within the Ranks of Our Military


As your Representative, I began working on the issue of sexual assault in the military in 2007 when we learned of the tragic story of Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach (USMC).  Maria was a young woman from southwest Ohio who was serving her country honorably when she was allegedly sexually assaulted by a senior enlisted servicemember. Eight months later, she and her unborn child were murdered by that accused servicemember.
Maria’s mother Mary Lauterbach, and Dayton attorney Merle Wilberding have been integral in helping me find legislative solutions to the many problems Maria faced in the military justice system.
This past year, Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, of Massachusetts and I created the bipartisan Military Sexual Assault Prevention Caucus with the intent of educating Members of Congress on the serious problem of sexual assault in the military. In furtherance of this effort, the Caucus sponsored a screening of The Invisible War at the Library of Congress last February. Since that time it has been viewed by countless Americans, servicemembers, legislators and leaders in our Department of Defense and has received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature. The nomination of The Invisible War is certainly welcome news and has been helpful in raising the awareness of sexual assault in the military.
With the help of the Secretary Leon Panetta and leaders at the Department of Defense, we are currently working to implement several policy changes on dealing with sexual assault. This includes increased access to legal counsel, a provision in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, to maintain a victim-focused system. Recently, the United States Air Force announced the full implementation of new pilot program, which builds upon the right to legal counsel. These recent changes along with years of work with the House Armed Services Committee have begun to change how this issue is dealt with inside our military. For far too long, the issue of sexual assault had gone unchecked.
I must commend the efforts of Pentagon leaders, including Secretary Panetta, as well as U.S. Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh for their continued efforts on behalf of our servicemembers. By combating the issue of sexual assault in the ranks, we are strengthening the morale and readiness of our bravest citizens. I hope through the story of Maria and The Invisible War, we can continue on a path towards ending the crime of sexual assault in our military.

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followed this page 2014-03-10 14:59:52 -0400
commented 2014-02-23 14:24:24 -0500
I will always support any legislation and putting criminals of any kind of abuse toward anyone of the human race, behind bars!
commented 2014-01-05 00:41:03 -0500
Thank you for your persistence. I served the army for two years and the reserves for 20. I was sexually assaulted while on active duty and completely ostracized by my unit for speaking up. The soldier went AWOL to Mexico (We were stationed at Ft. Bliss! – not so blissful!) I never formally reported it at the advice of my 1SG for fear of losing my career. I’m grateful for the courage of those who did.
followed this page 2014-01-02 18:56:27 -0500
followed this page 2013-12-07 23:49:26 -0500
followed this page 2013-12-07 12:10:18 -0500
commented 2013-11-10 12:45:38 -0500
The military is a reflection of how our culture views and treats women. Period. I rejected an in-service appointment to West Point because I personally experienced numerous sexual assaults during my stint in the Army. The training posts were especially dangerous- they still are. I had close friends who were social workers in uniform, they told horror tales of trying to help rape victims while being actively stymied and threatened by commanders for the accused. I have faced much of the same prejudice and misogynistic hate throughout my professional career in corporate America. 35 years plus and I’m still struggling with the same types of people with the same issues. Believe me, Pioneers in this area are not seen as winners and are very rarely recognized or rewarded, ESPECIALLY if they are not viewed as passive, attractive females! And God help you if you are gay, you will be pilloried, to boot.
commented 2013-08-31 18:03:33 -0400
hi, am a MST survivor and after reading some of the blogs here,let me add some facts to rapes happening in the military towards men and women,what some may not know is that some people ( criminals ) that don’t like having laws made to put them behind bars,will in fact start a movement of their own to try and make law makers change the law or add new laws to make it so they can commit the crimes they feel is not really a crime, they want to cause a miscourage of justice this is just thier way of trying to mack the laws made to stop criminals from doing things like rape or worst,keep in mind no rapest wants to go to jail or be know as a rapest,my MST case as well as a lot of our cases of MST will point this out,the rapest just like any other criminal committing crimes will in fact try to cause a miscourage of justice by having the victim put in jail for a crime they did not commit or in the military having us dishonorby discharged ( the victim ) I know the guys that raped me tried this on me,because my C.O. at the time caught them in my room and they in turn tried telling my C.O. that it was I who attacked them,now keep in mind this may not or will not be the same in all cases,but it could be the same in all cases,keep this in mind rapest want to rape without being punished for the rape crime,so for someone looking into crimes like MST, they need to understand all the info they are getting and stop over looking certain info like in my case of MST,which is why I can say my C.O. tried covering up my MST and they tried causing a miscourage of military justice.
commented 2013-08-30 16:40:00 -0400
MORE MEN THAN WOMEN ARE RAPED IN OUR ARMED FORCES, and this is encouraged by the military and our government as a reward and an incitement to brutality towards the “enemy” and the American people.
commented 2013-08-30 06:08:19 -0400
We can blame whole system for this. Its a natural thing that men attract towards the women. But it time to educate them that how they can control their nervous . This will take things to the better side. Like if i was looking to take admission in and i don’t get the admission i will blame whole system for my failure.
commented 2013-07-18 11:41:21 -0400
My personal opinions follow, not those of my Command. I saw this as a very emotional movie that outlined what I believe are common problems at many DOD installations — poor administration of the Military (and Government Civilian) Justice system that appears purposeful in nature to avoid prosecuting criminals for crimes. Some of those perpetrators are either leaders who don’t want to show this problem during “their watch” or are leaders who are the actual criminals. Justice requires independent, timely action that ensures the proper chain of custody and swift and fair prosecution. The needs of the improved system seem obvious:

(1) Establish funding, manpower and controls to setup a totally independent reporting and prosecution system — immediately.

(2) Swiftly prosecute leaders who ignore these horrific acts – dishonorable discharge and jail time at a minimum.

(3) Immediately isolate potential Criminals to protect victims and send a message of REAL Zero Tolerance until facts are verified.

(4) Establish quick reaction teams to Immediately provide victims and family members physical/emotional support.

It’s obvious the current systems are not in place or effective, even though some General Officers and Political Appointees claim otherwise. A permanent viable solution is needed NOW, not only for the Military, but also for the Civilian workforce that face similar problems with corrupt leadership, to ensure consistent justice is swift and fair and that victim support is effective. Issues involving veterans who were attacked/abused needs the highest level of oversight at the VA to also ensure they get the support they need. However, there are so many broken systems and controls shown in this movie that it seems it will take a miracle to fix them.
followed this page 2013-06-30 03:30:50 -0400
commented 2013-05-22 00:44:44 -0400
sry,small correction on last comment the c.o. and liutenit was not trained on how to handle a rape case
commented 2013-05-22 00:41:53 -0400
hi and thank you david wong for your comment,its for sure the higher ranking personal know that the lower ranking personal for the most part do not have the knowage on how to go about fighting rape in the military,as like myself I was thinking since my c.o. saw the guys in my room,that all would become clear and they would be facing rape charges as well as other charges,now my mst happen back in 1980 aug 28,and the c.o. was still able to handle this type of crime inside the unit or company,but as I notice the c.o. as well as the liutenit was trained on handling rape crimes as well as to understand a rape well as it was made clear to me that they was saying to me I had to prove I was rape and they was saying that there was no way I could prove I was raped and there was way to much that someone could see,with just my room alone,one there was only 2 of us assign to the room,now there should have been 4 of us assign to this room,but I was told by my c.o. he had no other room to assign me too or he would have put me in a different room,thats so freaking weird in its self,but what I found out this other black male soldier was a trouble soldier stealing,lieing and stuff like this,this was a really big red this c.o. know this one soldier was a problem in his unit,but it was not the only problem soldier he had in his unit as I found out the hard way,so just to make things clear.there are signs or stuff a rapest will do or anyone looking to commit crimes,it was not I was silent at first about being raped like alot of other soldiers,i just was not getting the help from my c.o. or anyone else in the military at the time and what people must understand is when these guys rape,they will lie to cover their crimes,so if a rape happens inside a unit,it must be decared a crime scene M.P’s called and have all this sent to Jag,so what am saying is just like in the real world when a rape happens we have people to respond and take care of the victim and get the evidence they need to convict and another thing is training the M.P’s to understand what rape victims sound like and look like after the fact,thats one of the biggest problem I saw in the military and another thing is getting the military to stop victimizing the rape victim,thats a crime too and stop covering up evidence that would put these rapest in prison where they need to be,so as to be more clear the military needs to step up their knowage and training as well as taking crimes like this out of the hands that cannot do a proper investacation.i could help them understand where they went wrong in my MST case and one way they went wrong was when the rapest lied to my c.o. so yes there is a lack of knowage in the lower ranks but there is a lack of knowage in the higher ranks as well,thank you
commented 2013-05-21 03:44:23 -0400
I wanted to make everyone aware of this stunning article, which provides proof that sexual violence has been not just permitted but encouraged by the U.S. military for decades:
Rape by American Soldiers in WWII France
followed this page 2013-05-17 02:15:30 -0400
commented 2013-05-16 15:24:24 -0400
hi and thanks again, helene for your comment,if anyone has or knows of anything that can or make things go or move faster in starting my lawsuit,all info is welcome and yes I have trust issues with florida myself as I have seen issues where thye or scared or afraid of doing the right thing or just don’t care of our rights,as I have stated before I have been arrested for a crime I did not commit do to a guy that I know as a fact is involve in a gang know as the hood,here in Pinellas park florida and what makes this even worst is the Pinellas park police some of them are part of this gang,this is something I found out on my own, also this is what leads into issues and problems within our military forces,i would say its one of the leading problems and I have taken action on this as I reported this info to the Pinellas county sheriffs office as well as the F.B.I. here in Clearwater flordia,but if anyone knows of someone that can help in getting stuff like this stopped,well then we will get more power to make changes now most people have no knowage or training this is what helps guys like this to get away with doing crimes in or out of the military,once they go into the military that’s where MST comes in as well as other crimes they commit all this works hand in hand and am not afraid of taking the bull by the horns in a manner of speaking,but am just one person that suffer from MST as well as other crimes committed on me,but I also know that if all of us stand up,well that’s what will make us have the power,so no matter what all info helps in the battle to end crimes and MST,thank you
commented 2013-05-16 01:32:03 -0400
Alright Stanley – you go until you get your justice. We are the government, they represent us, as does the military. Don’t ever be afraid of them, we are many – those in power are few. If the many raise their voices, the few are through. Ask the ACLU if they can recommend a pro-bono lawyer that might be interested in taking on the lawsuit. If he thinks you have a good case (which the world now knows you do) and you sue for many millions, he will work on what’s called a “contingency” – meaning he takes a percentage of whatever settlement you attain. I live in New York, and I know that’s where the “go -getters” and real crusaders seem to gather. New Yorkers don’t take any sh-t:-) So, I’d call New York and talk to the ACLU chapter there. Frankly, I don’t trust the politics of Florida – re: Bush and Gore and the boy who was shot by the “neighbor.” I’d call the NY ACLU just to see what they say – New Yorkers are also the most helpful people on the planet and CAN’T STOMACH INJUSTICE. Also, if you live near a major University, even Miami University, where they have a law school, you might find a law student who could help you. GET HELP from those who want to help – don’t carry on the fight alone, for too long. Gain momentum as you go. It’s a cause that is burning up even those dullards in Congress – I love a good fight – where right is on your side. The truth always comes out. God Bless you Stanley for taking action and standing up for what you know is right.
commented 2013-05-15 23:20:46 -0400
hi,to all who would like to follow up with a lawsuit on your MST case I called the ACLU in florida and was told they are sending me a form to fill out to get things started,so just keep pushing your MST and keep fighting and keep in mind being shot or blow up while serving in the military is consider a occupational hazard do to the nature of your job in the military,rape is not a occupational hazard it is a crime to all and should be treated as a crime,also your c.o. and other higher ranking personal have done things wrong too and have let us all down in order to protect their service record not yours or because they was friends with the predators and that in its self is a crime as well,every MST survivor has been done this wrong and then some,ok thank you
commented 2013-05-15 20:13:16 -0400
Watched THE INVISIBLE WAR and it shook me to the bone.
How can sexual attacks on women AND men be called an
“Occupational Hazard?”
commented 2013-05-15 15:17:28 -0400
hi,Helene first off,thank you for responding but would there be a number to ACLU? plus where my MST happen was while I was serving overseas at Wiesbaden air force base( W.A.B. ) in the thank you
commented 2013-05-15 13:45:59 -0400
Stanley, keep looking – call the ACLU – for a name. This is a civil rights issue. Get the ACLU to take on the case – The American Civil Liberties Union. What has happened to you is against your civil rights. Gather those you know who have been assaulted and make your case to the ACLU – they will help you or refer you to someone who can. Florida is a red state – not very liberal about human civil rights – where did the assault happen? What state? Go to that State – find them on line and call them – begin your fight.
commented 2013-05-15 13:45:45 -0400
I need help in writting a solid statement- been told that there isn’t enough stressor points- please help!!!
commented 2013-05-15 13:11:15 -0400
hi,i am a MST survivor from aug 28,1980 I would like to start a lawsuit for my MST case but have ran into issues finding someone that’s not afraid or scared of handling a MST case,i am in the state of florida thank you
commented 2013-05-15 13:09:37 -0400
commented 2013-05-14 08:50:08 -0400
I am not invisible. I have MST. I spent the rest of my time in service trying to pretend it didn’t matter, it didn’t happen, and that I deserved it because I was not worth it. I am a disabled veteran.
Brothers & Sisters – I have your back as much as a broken down old vet gal can be. But until the law has teeth we have no recourse. I am not invisible. But I am still Broken. I am the majority not the minority.
followed this page 2013-05-14 08:49:12 -0400
commented 2013-05-14 00:18:41 -0400
You need to identify the names of the perpetrators in these sexual assaults. Even if they aren’t brought to justice by the military they are suspects of sexual offenses and should be identified as such. They should be publicly shamed. What is the harm? They sue you for libel or slander? Doubtful they will do that because it will bring attention to their crime… And most importantly, you may prevent another person from being the victim of a vicious assault!
commented 2013-05-13 23:26:15 -0400
I’m ready to pass out – occupational hazard? This can’t be the end. There is no commendation.
commented 2013-05-13 23:25:21 -0400
Say the assailants names – say their names, say their names. Convicted or not – say their names.
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