WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14), Chair of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, issued the following statement in response to today’s release of the Department of Defense’s Fiscal Year 2019 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military.

“The bottom line is that too often, perpetrators of sexual violence in the military escape accountability. Last year, DoD received 7,825 reports of sexual assault, but sexual assault charges were recommended for just 795 cases, and only 227 assailants were convicted and sentenced to confinement. No wonder survivors perceive a system that is stacked against them. I am deeply troubled by the 17 percent increase in restricted reports – indicating that survivors increasingly do not trust the military to bring assailants to justice – as well as the reduced rate of courts-martial and what that means for holding perpetrators accountable,” Rep Speier said. “Talk is cheap. For nearly 20 years now, military leadership has vowed a commitment to fighting this scourge. That doesn’t match the reality of their latest budget request, which slashed funding for sexual assault prevention and response. It’s time for serious action, true transparency, and robust systemic change. We need annual surveys to provide the correct context for these reports so that we can understand and effectively combat this toxic rot. If this doesn’t happen, we need to clean house and find leadership capable of getting the job done right. The lives and honor of our brave servicemembers demand nothing less.”

Click here to view a copy of the report.