Four of Arizona's Representatives in Congress co-sponsored a bill that addresses the rights of sexual assault victims in the military. The bill passed with House unanimous approval Thursday.
Arizona Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick, Ron Barber and Raúl Grijalva co-sponsored the bill to extend whistleblower protections to military service members who are victims of sexual assault.
In a statement, Barber said HR 1864 will protect those who report assaults, a number, many have said, is low because assaults go under-reported.
Earlier this month, he spoke on the House floor about sexual assaults in the military.
"Last year nearly one out of every 16 active duty women reported having been the victim of an unwanted sexual contact," Barber said. "This is a deplorable situation."
Measures to protect those who serve, and who are victims of assault, are important, he said.
“The vast majority of men and women who are in our armed services, serve us with honor and distinction," Barber said. "But their dedication is undermined by those who commit sexual assaults."
The bill would also require a U.S. Inspector General investigation of all allegations of sexual assault in the military. It next goes to the U.S. Senate for consideration.