Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence Holds Roundtable on Military Sexual Trauma
Washington, DC – Today, Representatives Annie Kuster (D-NH), David Joyce (R-OH), Jackie Speier (D-CA), and John Katko (R-NY), the co-chairs of the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence, held a Task Force roundtable on Military Sexual Trauma (MST).
In light of troubling Department of Defense (DOD) reporting showing an increase in the prevalence of sexual violence and harassment incidents, the Task Force convened the roundtable to discuss what the military is doing to combat this problem, and what Congress can do to help. This was a unique opportunity for Members to hear from stakeholders who have been immersed in efforts to prevent and address MST, and support survivors.
The Task Force was joined by:
-Nate Galbreath, Acting Director of the DOD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office
-Glenna Tinney, co-chair of the DOD/VA Subcommittee of the National Task Force Against Sexual and Domestic Violence
-Jane Stapleton, Co-Director, Prevention Innovations Research Center at the University of New Hampshire
-Ryan Guilds, Attorney at Arnold & Porter and member of the Protect Our Defenders advisory board
-Dorothy Edwards, President of Alteristic
“Our servicemembers and veterans sacrifice so much to serve our country and they should never have to experience or endure sexual violence and harassment,” said the Task Force Co-Chairs. “It is painfully clear that much more must be done to address MST. We remain committed to working in a bipartisan way to advance legislation that will protect survivors of MST, foster safe environments for reporting incidents, and prevent the occurrence of MST in the first place. As our Task Force confronts sexual violence across every facet of our society, we will continue to make eradicating MST a top priority. Those who wear the uniform of our country deserve nothing less.”
“Sexual Assault is difficult whether it occurs in the military or civilian system,” said Glenna Tinney. “I would like to thank the members of the Task Force for their leadership in continuing to shine the spotlight on and examining the many variables that contribute to Military Sexual Assault. Survivors deserve nothing less.”
“Instead of beginning the conversation from a risk reduction perspective, I suggest we center the broader discussion of MST on building protective factors,” said Jane Stapleton. “This includes engaging leaders to take responsibility for preventing sexual harassment and assault and encouraging reporting MST; creating climates based on mutual respect and that are free of gender discrimination; building environments that support cohesiveness, connectedness and concern for how individual behaviors affect the unit; and highlighting social norms that support gender equity and intolerance for sexual violence in the environment.”