Last week she testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommitte on sexual assault in the military. She said that in 2003:
The sheer number of incidents was disturbing. More than that, however,the military's responses to victims who came forward were antiquated, often punishing the victim rather than the perpetrator. It was shameful.
She goes on to commend Congress and the DoD for recent attention to sexual assault. However, she says that changes in reporting procedures have obscured the gathering of statistics so that there is no accurate estimate of whether the problem is actually getting better.
Failure to uniformly gather and report information related to the investigation and disposition of sexual assault claims complicates Congressional policy-based efforts to address sexual assault in the military and frustrates the purpose of the Department of Defense’s existing programs.This week, in a column for the Huffington Post, Slaughter shares her opinion of the sincerity of the Department of Defense's participation:
Kaye Whitley, director of the Department's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, had been subpoenaed to testify at Thursday's hearing, but apparently Department of Defense officials instructed her to stay away from the hearing. I am very disturbed by the DoD's resistance to Congressional oversight on sexual assault.Kudos to Slaughter for making this an issue before Congress and for publicizing the inadequate procedures for reporting sexual assault in the military.
Quite simply, the current structure makes women who have suffered sexual assault choose between confidentiality and justice.
It is unconscionable that women who serve their country in the military should have to make that decision. For three Congresses, I have introduced the Military Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Act. This legislation will ensure greater protections for service members and their families if they become victims of sexual assault or domestic violence.