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On Thursday, the Senate passed a reform bill aimed at improving and changing how the military addresses the problem of sexual assault.
The bill aims to fight against sexual assault in the military in several ways: those who commit forcible sodomy are to be forcibly dismissed or dishonorably discharged, sexual assault victims will have the right to "be reasonably protected from the accused," victims will be provided counsel for trial and commanders will no longer be able to overturn convictions found through jury, reports Forbes.
The bill doesn't include a provision that would put prosecutors in charge instead of following the chain of command, which can often put victims at a disadvantage due to biased viewpoints.
According to The Washington Post, Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid said, "I think the bill is a significant step forward."
It would hope so as over the past few years, it is estimated by the Pentagon that 26,000 troops were sexually assaulted, while only 3,300 stepped forward to report.
The bill was part of the annual military spending bill, the National Defense Authorization Act. This year the measure allocates $552 billion towards defense and an additional $81 billion for overseas military measures. Service members will also see a mild pay increase as part of the Act.
image: Wikimedia Commons