Professor Beth L. Hillman testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in Washington, D.C., Jan. 11, 2013 as it investigates what has been called an epidemic of rape and sexual assaults in the U.S. military.
Hillman, incoming academic dean at UC Hastings College of the Law, submitted written testimony from her latest writing on the subject, and took questions, along with other panelists, from commission members. Hillman teaches military law and has been a regular source and commentator on the process the military uses to deal with offenders, and the care it provides victims.
“I applaud the commissioners for taking up this contentious topic in the interest of improving equality of treatment in the armed forces,” Hillman said in prepared remarks. “Little progress has been made in reducing the incidence rate, holding perpetrators accountable, or restoring public confidence in military justice.”
Hillman’s submitted remarks focused on statutory reform and policy changes the commission might recommend. “The U.S. is an outlier in the world in terms of how it prosecutes crime in its military, including rape and sexual assault. The U.S. armed forces cannot solve this vexing problem on their own,” Hillman said.
Congresswoman Jackie Speier ’76 (D-CA) introduced a House bill in 2011 that would take the reporting, oversight, investigation and victim care of sexual assaults out of the military’s normal chain of command and place it under the jurisdiction of a newly created, autonomous Sexual Assault Oversight and Response Office.
Several of those who testified with Hillman were part of a symposium put on by the Hastings Women’s Law Journal in September 2012. Speier was the keynote speaker at the symposium. She also appeared at a press conference at UC Hastings announcing a federal court suit filed on behalf of 19 veterans, alleging government officials failed to protect them against rape and sexual assault while on active duty.
The testimony was carried live on C-SPAN’s website, and is viewable at: http://www.c-span.org/Events/Military-Commission-Holds-Forum-on-Sexual-Assault/10737437187.
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