FAIRBORN, Ohio (WDTN) – Fighting an invisible war: Sexual assaults in the military.
Congressman Tuner (R-OH) along with Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (D-MA) from Massachusetts have been working together since 2007 to eliminate sexual assault from our military. Monday, they were briefed by Wright Patterson Air Force Base to see if their efforts are paying off.
Both representatives are co-chairs of the Military Sexual Assault Prevention Caucus and have passed reform that takes action to eradicate those crimes.
Today they were briefed at the Wright Patterson Air Force base by attorneys, investigators, medical professionals and major commanders about their process of reporting sexual assault and dealing with the aftermath including protecting the victim.
They also were given data and numbers of how many cases there have been.
Natalie: When you received those numbers were you still concerned?
Turner: “Absolutely, It’s very difficult to hear the experience of the victims and not have your heart go out to them that’s why Congresswoman Tsongas and myself, our job will not be done by just changing a few laws. We want to make sure the system is changing, we take heart that the system is changing but it’s not done yet.”
Both representatives say they are seeing positive changes particularly when it comes to allowing victims to get expedited transfers from one base to another.
They also said they want to make sure the citizen employees of military bases are also protected under their legislation. That’s another area they will be working on.
Also at Monday’s event was Mary Lautherbach. Her daughter was U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach.
Maria grew up in Vandalia and was allegedly sexually assaulted by a senior enlisted member in her unit. After reporting the assault she remained working with the alleged assailant. The accused attacker struck again 8 months later killing her and her unborn child.
Maria’s story pointed to problems with the way the military handled sexual assault. Monday, her mom Mary, praised the efforts by both representatives in the advances they helped created in changing the culture of the military.