Dueling Bills Address Sexual Assault in the Military

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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand during a trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan

New York's junior senator, Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, has been championing an effort to change the way the military deals with sexual assaults. Another Democratic Senator, Claire McCaskill, of Missouri, has also made the issue a top priority. But they are approaching reforms in different ways, and each is lobbying her colleagues hard for her own bill. McCaskill wants to keep prosecutorial power in the hands of military commanders. Gillibrand thinks those commanders — essentially, the bosses of the accusers —  have been part of the problem, and her bill would take assault cases out of the chain of command and turn them over to military prosecutors. 

"That's what victims tell us is the problem," she said. "Victims who are unwilling to report, the number one reason is they don't trust the chain of command, they think nothing will be done with their case. The second reason why they don't report these incidences of rape and sexual assault is because they fear retaliation or they've witnessed retaliation."

To hear Host Amy Eddings' conversation with Senator Gillibrand, click on the audio player.