Call to Action: The Military Justice Improvement and Increased Prevention Act

Immediate attention needed from across the globe - You CAN make a difference.

OUR GOAL IS TO HAVE EMAILS SENT BY NEXT WEEK SO PLEASE PASS THIS MESSAGE ON TO YOUR MEMBERSHIP ASAP!!

We have shared our support of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s MJIA legislation -now called The Military Justice Improvement and Increased Prevention Act (MJI-IPA) with you over the past several months. At this very moment, we have the opportunity to help push it over the finish line!

This legislation has been introduced consistently since 2013 and has, just as consistently, been blocked in the Senate. We believe that there must not be any further delay in implementing the changes reflected in the Military Justice and Increased Prevention Act. This past week we saw major shifts in support and greatly increased possibility for passage. Senator Gillibrand has worked hard to refine and strengthen the legislation, now called The Military Justice Improvement and Increased Prevention Act. As a result, it has gleaned additional co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle (see the New York Times article below for more information on this powerful coalition which has continued to grow.

The object of Senator Gillibrand’s plan is to create a fair and impartial military justice system, for all felonies (rape, murder, child abuse, etc), to create a professional system, less subject to unqualified or improperly motivated decision-making.

In essence, it removes the power to make investigative and prosecutorial decisions from the purview of 3% of Commanders within the accused’s chain of command and puts them into the hands of professional, trained senior military prosecutors.

For more comprehensive background information on the MJI-IPA go to: https://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/mjia

Ways to help ensure the necessary changes are made:

1. CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS TO THANK THEM OR TO ASK FOR THEIR SUPPORT

Use the link below to find the latest position of your Senators (and a direct link to send messages via their email and twitter).You can be sure that every communication is being counted and will count.

It is critical that our messaging be positive - Use a light touch. Aggressive advocacy will backfire. Our targets currently are Whitehouse, Sinema, Rosen and Carper. BUT again, a light touch is imperative.

FYI - On the chart it appears we have the 60 votes needed. But that is just a list and certainly no guarantee. A lot can happen between now and the conclusion of the process which will occur over the coming month(s). This is the time to both solidify support and increase the numbers.

https://www.protectourdefenders.com/senate/

The link below is a fact sheet if you’d like to incorporate more specifics in your message. But don’t worry! That you’ve taken the trouble to contact them is what matters most.

https://www.protectourdefenders.com/factsheet/

2. SEND A LETTER TO YOUR LEGISLATOR

Here is a link to obtain addresses:

https://www.senate.gov/senators/senators-contact.htm

Sample letter for survivors:

Dear Senator ______, I’m a US Air Force veteran. Like so many service members, I left the military after I was sexually assaulted. All I ever wanted to do was serve my country. Thousands of servicemembers and civilians are sexually assaulted each year. Sadly, the number of reported sexual assaults keeps rising, and the number of convictions is falling.

To fix our military justice system we need to put the prosecution of serious crimes like rape and murder into the hands of trained military law professionals. I urge you to support veterans like me by voting for the Military Justice Improvement & Increased Prevention Act. Thank you.

Sample letter for general public:

Dear Senator ______, I’m writing to you about the issue of sexual assault in our military. Today, the Department of Defense reports increasing sexual assaults by servicemembers, but decreasing conviction rates. Despite years of Congressional inquiries, thousands are raped or sexually assaulted every year. In many of those cases, the assailant is someone in the survivor’s own chain of command. Only a small fraction of the perpetrators are ever held accountable for their heinous, violent crimes.

The bipartisan Military Justice Improvement & Increased Prevention Act is designed to professionalize how the military prosecutes serious crimes like sexual assault, and to remove the fear that survivors of military sexual assault experience when deciding whether to even report these crimes. A Pentagon survey found that 64% of survivors say they have experienced some form of retaliation for reporting the crime. Please vote for the Military Justice Improvement & Increased Prevention Act

3. USE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA to ENCOURAGE YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO CONTACT THEIR LEGISLATORS

Tag your Senators if you can because their staff monitors social media mentions.

Sample Tweet: Senator @MittRomney, will you stand with military sexual assault survivors to pass the Military Justice Improvement & Increased Prevention Act? Veterans like me need your help! #MeToo #MeTooMilitary #IAmVanessaGuillen #MJIIPA

Below are links to articles and videos you can use as posts:

https://www.protectourdefenders.com/new-york-times-gillibrand-makes-major-push-to-reform-military-justice-system/

https://www.protectourdefenders.com/remarks-from-protect-our-defenders-president-don-christensen-at-the-senate-armed-services-committee-hearing-on-sexual-assault-in-the-armed-forces/

https://www.facebook.com/DemsAbroad/videos/28886917629236

4. SEND A LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Amplify your voice and reach the public and your legislators.

This doesn’t need to be a massive missive.

Sample letter for survivors:

Dear Senator ______, I’m a US Air Force veteran. Like so many service members, I left the military after I was sexually assaulted. All I ever wanted to do was serve my country. Thousands of servicemembers and civilians are sexually assaulted each year. Sadly, the number of reported sexual assaults keeps rising, and the number of convictions falling.

To fix our military justice system we need to put the prosecution of serious crimes like rape and murder into the hands of trained military law professionals. I urge you to support veterans like me by voting for the Military Justice Improvement & Increased Prevention Act. Thank you.

Sample letter for general public:

Dear Senator ______, I’m writing to you about the issue of sexual assault in our military. Today, the Department of Defense reports increasing sexual assaults by servicemembers, but decreasing conviction rates. Despite years of Congressional inquiries, thousands are raped or sexually assaulted every year. In many of those cases, the assailant is someone in the survivor’s own chain of command. Only a small fraction of the perpetrators are ever held accountable for their heinous, violent crimes.

The bipartisan Military Justice Improvement & Increased Prevention Act is designed to professionalize how the military prosecutes serious crimes like sexual assault, and to remove the fear that survivors of military sexual assault experience when deciding whether to even report these crimes. A Pentagon survey found that 64% of survivors say they have experienced some form of retaliation for reporting the crime. Please vote for the Military Justice Improvement & Increased Prevention Act.

Here is another sample:

:https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#search/denise.dpca%40gmail.com/KtbxLxgNKCnmdTjlrpNdJGnGvgcTFmkcPL?projector=1&messagePartId=0.1

IF YOU HAVE BEEN A VICTIM OF SEXUAL ASSAULT WITHIN A MILITARY CONTEXT, YOU MAY CHOOSE TO SHARE YOUR STORY WITH LEGISLATORS VIA A SHORT VIDEO

The testimony of victims has been very powerful and has built support among the growing group of “pro” legislators. Protect Our Defenders (with whom we have been working) has set up a process:

https://www.protectourdefenders.com/upload/