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Once upon a time, "don't ask, don't tell" meant something very different than what it's come to represent today. Sexual offenses are the new "don't ask, don't tell."
Sexual assault within the military is a tremendously taboo subject. Service members are often discouraged from reporting crimes against them for fear of military retaliation, shame, or simply because they don't want to cause trouble within their units. Perhaps most egregiously, convicted service members do not have to disclose their crimes on their discharge papers.
Just as we have a national registry for civilian sex offenders, we need to have a similar one for those in the military. With more than 85% of military sex crimes going unpunished, this type of registry is necessary.
Join us in calling on the Department of Defense to create a national military sex offender registry.
It's time to address the issue of sex crime within the US military. With sex offenses in the service up 97% in the past five years, there is no time but now to bring this issue out of its shrouded secrecy.
In fact, secrecy in and of itself has greatly contributed to the pervasiveness of sex crimes within the military, and for myriad reasons. Some victims fear retaliation from the inherently hierarchical military for reporting crimes against them. Others don't want to create trouble within their units. And often military members are protected by their superiors through loyalty or because of the rank they hold.
When a service member is convicted for a sex crime, it isn't required to be evidenced on his discharge papers. With this continued culture of secrecy, it's almost as if military sex offenses are viewed as less important or traumatizing as those that occur between civilians.
This is completely unacceptable, as sexual crimes anywhere cause a great deal of suffering for victims and their families.
I am writing in support of a national military sex offender registry, whereby all convicted service members must enter. There is simply no reason the protect these people from public view; in fact, the more we expose crimes of this nature, perhaps the less we might see instances of them.
Please, do the right thing by sex crime victims and instate a national military sex offender registry.