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Gender Equity Initiatives On Military Justice Reforms Included in House-Passed National Defense Authorization Act

For Immediate Release: December 8, 2021

NDAA includes meaningful changes for sexual assault survivors, incorporates removing the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault from the chain of command

CONTACT: [email protected]

Washington, DC – Today, Civic Nation’s gender equity initiatives, The United State of Women, It’s On Us and End Rape on Campus, stood together as organizations at the forefront of the fight for gender equity to release a statement following the House passage of The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA includes historic and meaningful reform of the military justice system’s handling of sexual assault cases.

“Every issue is a gender issue at USOW, especially survivor justice,” said the United State of Women Executive Director Jordan Brooks. “We are pleased to see Congress pass bipartisan reform on military sexual assault that is both trauma-informed and prioritizes the needs of survivors of sexual misconduct. Reforms like this will help set an important precedent for how survivors must be centered and believed across all sectors as we work to create a world free from gender-based violence.”

“It’s On Us is pleased that Congress has reached a bipartisan deal to achieve historic reform of the military justice system’s handling of sexual assault cases, including recommendations made by the Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault led by Lynn Rosenthal and supported by President Biden and Secretary Austin. Removing the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault from the chain of command and creating dedicated units to handle these cases will hopefully lead to more survivors accessing support and justice. We also believe that increased reporting will help to inform the creation of much-needed prevention education efforts and work to eliminate sexual violence from within our military ranks,” said It’s On Us Executive Director Tracey Vitchers.

“End Rape On Campus is proud to support the NDAA’s military justice reform as a critical and transformative step in addressing the long-standing sexual assault crisis present in the military. Each year, thousands of service members experience sexual assault, and then must face the fear of retaliation and lack of accountability,” said End Rape On Campus Executive Director, Kenyora Parham. “Through addressing the bias yielded by the military chain of command and ensuring that investigation and prosecution procedures are conducted by an independent unit of trained, professional military prosecutors, EROC believes this bill will serve as the first step in shifting culture within the military and creating a violence-free environment in which all service member survivors are seen, heard and believed.”

ABOUT CIVIC NATION:

Civic Nation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit home for changemakers who inspire, educate, and activate people around the issues that will define this generation. Civic Nation empowers and educates individuals, companies, institutions and organizations to drive culture, systems, and policy change, working towards a more inclusive and equitable America. Seven initiatives are a part of the Civic Nation family: When We All Vote, United State of Women, ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, End Rape On Campus, It’s On Us, Made to Save and We The Action. Learn more here.

ABOUT THE UNITED STATE OF WOMEN:

The United State of Women is an initiative of Civic Nation dedicated to convening, connecting, and amplifying voices in the fight for full gender equity. We are a community for all women, gender nonconforming people, and allies who believe in full gender equity and want to work collectively to achieve it. Learn more here.

ABOUT IT’S ON US:

It’s On Us was founded in September 2014 as an initiative of the Obama-Biden White House. The program launched following recommendations from the White House Task Force to Prevent Sexual Assault that noted the importance of calling everyone into the conversation on sexual assault prevention. Over the last six years, It’s On Us has grown into the nation’s largest nonprofit program dedicated to college sexual assault prevention and survivor support activating students on hundreds of campuses in our awareness and education programs. Learn more here.

ABOUT END RAPE ON CAMPUS:

End Rape on Campus (EROC) works to end campus sexual violence through direct support for survivors and their communities; prevention through education; and policy reform at the campus, local, state, and federal levels. EROC envisions a world where each individual has an educational experience free from violence, and until then, that all survivors are believed, trusted, and supported. Learn more here.