Bill Highlights Military Sexual Assault Issue

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A bill protecting the legal rights of victims of sexual assault in the military was introduced in the House, Wednesday.

The bill would provide victims with the right to legal counsel and the option to relocate to another military base.

Last year nearly 19,000 members of the armed forces were sexually attacked.

Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, introduced the bill to Congress, discussing recent cases of assault in the ranks, including the murder of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterback.

"She came forward to report that she'd been sexually assaulted by a senior enlisted member of her unit," Turner said.

"She was then forced to serve with her alleged assailant for the following eight months before he attacked and killed her and her unborn child and buried them in his backyard," he said.

Anu Bhagwati from the Service Women's Action Network shared a similar story.

"On SWAN's help hotline last year, we got a crisis call from a young Marine named Nicole," she recalled. "Nicole had recently been raped. Her perpetrator had drugged her and she woke up in the middle of her attack horrified."

"She'd only been a Marine for a few months, but what she had to endure after the rape was in many ways worse than the rape itself," she said.

Reports show that in the civilian word, prosecutors take about 40 percent of sexual assault cases to court. In the military, only about 8 percent end up going to trial.

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