Baldwin highlights La Crosse woman during Senate speech on military sexual assault

Published On: Nov 19 2013 11:34:03 PM CST
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WKBT) -

Senator Tammy Baldwin joined a group of women lawmakers in support of addressing military sexual assault.

She took the floor as the senate debated the National Defense Authorization Act. It would reform the military justice system so that military prosecutors would have the authority to decide whether or not felony cases go to trial. Right now, commanders have that power.

Part of Baldwin's speech highlighted a woman from La Crosse who was sexually assaulted when she joined the military in 2004. "After reporting her assault to her commanding officer, Rachel was interrogated for hours over numerous days and ultimately forced to drop the charge.  She was written up for fraternization - and her assailant was not charged," said Baldwin.

The U.S. Department of Defense estimates there were 26,000 cases of sexual assault last year, up 37% from 2011.