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Blumenthal Welcomes New Commission on Military Sexual Assault

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) welcomed the Biden Administration’s establishment of a new civilian-led commission to address military sexual assault to be led by longtime champion of efforts to end gender-based violence, Lynn Rosenthal.

“I am grateful to Secretary Austin for taking swift action on the commitment he made to me during his confirmation hearing to address sexual assault and harassment in the military. Lynn Rosenthal is exactly the right person to lead this independent commission and her appointment signals the Biden Administration’s serious commitment to fundamentally changing how we prevent and address sexual violence within the military,” Blumenthal said. 

“The truth hurts, but the reality is that military sexual assaults are not isolated incidents – a few bad apples – but a symptom of deeply ingrained cultural and institutional failures. For too long, the scourge of military sexual assault has been swept under the rug and dismissed with plans and promises. We need action now. I look forward to seeing the results of the commission’s inquiry and to working with the Administration to pursue its recommendations and reforms.”

Blumenthal has joined U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and others in calling for the passage of the bipartisan Military Justice Improvement Act, which seeks to reverse the systemic obstacles that numerous victims of military sexual assault have described in deciding whether to report the crimes committed against them due to the clear bias and inherent conflicts of interest posed by the military chain of command's current sole decision-making power over whether cases move forward to a trial.

Blumenthal has also sought to include provisions to combat military sexual assault in the annual National Defense Authorization Act, and in 2017, secured two amendments to assist survivors of sexual assault.