Senate Subcommittee To Hold Hearing on Sexual Assault in the Military

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Senate Subcommittee led by New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is hoping to shed more light on sexual assault in the military. Those testifying at the Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel on Wednesday include advocates for victims of sexual assault as well as members of the military.

Anu Bhagwati is a former Marine Corps Captain and executive director of the Service Women's Action Network. The New Yorker said she's going to testify that the military's criminal justice system should be changed to provide more protection for victims and justice for perpetrators. 

"The American public needs to understand that service members effectively don't have the same rights as the Americans whom they protect," Bhagwati said. For example, she said commanders determine whether cases of sexual assault or harassment move forward, creating institutional bias.

"Commanders are actually in the same chain of command as the accused, and so there's no way for a commander to be truly impartial in that case. What we need is for prosecutors, who are impartial, who are independent, who are actually trained attorneys," she said.

The Department of Defense said more than 3,100 sexual assaults were reported in 2011, the most recent year data is available. But the DoD and advocates for victims say that many more of the crimes — likely thousands more — continue to go unreported.



Julianne Welby


More in:

News, weather, Radiolab, Brian Lehrer and more.
Get the best of WNYC in your inbox, every morning.

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.


Latest Newscast




WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public


Supported by