sexual assault

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

There’s a special place at Syracuse’s Veterans Affairs Medical Center for female military veterans.

The Syracuse VA has been offering a Women Veterans Wellness Center for over a decade now. The number of female veterans they see in that time has tripled, so earlier this year, they moved into a brand new suite on the hospital’s ninth floor.

A fireplace and serene furnishings offer a kind of spa-like environment for women needing a wide range of care from mental health consultations to gynecological exams.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s proposal to change the way the military deals with sexual assault cases could come up for another vote in this month’s lame duck congressional session.

Gillibrand (D-NY) fell five votes short last spring of getting a bill passed that would overhaul military sexual-assault policies. But she says she wants to bring it up again, attaching it to a military authorization bill that has to be approved by the end of the year.  

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a rare appearance before the State University of New York Board of Trustees to urge them to pass a system-wide set of policies on how to respond to sexual assault and rape on campuses.

Cuomo convinced the board to adopt the new policy that helps prevent sexual assault. It includes a uniform definition of what it means to consent to sexual activity, amnesty for students who report an assault or rape, and a new sexual assault victims’ bill of rights.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

More than 100 students and staff rallied on the steps of Syracuse University’s Hendricks Chapel Wednesday, protesting the way the school closed a center that helped sexual assault victims. Some students ultimately took their complaints to the SU chancellor.

Students don’t like the way SU shut down the Advocacy Center in June, consolidating sexual assault services in the school's counseling center and moving student support groups into the the Office of Health Promotion.
 

For one freshman, the Advocacy Center was one of the reasons she came to SU.

Senate Democrats / Flickr

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) says she supports President Barack Obama's call for airstrikes in Syria. During a weekend appearance on CBS "Face the Nation," Gillibrand said the United States needs to take action against the militant group known as ISIS in Syria, but the U.S. needs to make intelligent decisions about how to do that.

personaldemocracy / Flickr

The State University of New York system is the first to support a proposed bill that would strengthen rules to protect students from sexual assault.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was in Manhattan Wednesday to announce SUNY's support for the Campus Accountability and Safety Act. Gillibrand has been a lead backer of the bill, which would ensure minimum training standards for campus employees and would require colleges and universities to perform annual surveys to keep records of sexual assault cases.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand helped introduce a bill Wednesday to combat the high rates of sexual assaults on college campuses.

Current statistics show nearly twenty percent of females who attend college are sexually assaulted. But critics say universities and colleges often provide either incomplete or false data. 

The new legislation would punish schools for falsifying that data while also requiring every school to release results of an anonymous student survey about assaults. 

Senator Gillibrand says these steps are vital.

'Erin's Law' faces hurdles to passing in New York state

Jun 11, 2014
Office of Dave Valesky

For the third year in a row, the New York State Senate passed "Erin's Law," a bill requiring schools to teach age-appropriate sexual abuse and assault awareness to children in pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade.

Erin Merryn, a victim of sexual assault, has come up against some hurdles in her campaign to make it a law in New York state.

When Merryn was six years old she was sexually abused by a neighbor. When she was eleven she was sexually abused again by a cousin for two years. She stayed silent for years.

Joanna Richards / WRVO

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) says in the next few months she is going to revive her military sexual assault bill, which changes how those types of crimes are prosecuted by the military. The legislation failed last month following a filibuster.

Gillibrand says her bill, which would allow military prosecutors to handle sexual assault cases instead of officers in the regular chain of command, still has the support of 55 senators, including Republicans.

Joanna Richards / WRVO

After a year of lobbying her colleagues, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's bill to change how the Pentagon handles sexual assault cases was rejected by the Senate.

Gillibrand isn't looking at her legislation's defeat as a failure, just a temporary setback in her effort to remove sexual assault cases from the military chain of command. Although 55 senators supported it, that wasn't enough to overcome a bipartisan filibuster.

Gillibrand says her work isn’t over.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is on a personal crusade to change the military culture that’s allowed sexual assaults to go unpunished, and is attempting to push a bill through the Senate.

Gillibrand remembers when the issue of sexual assaults in the military really got on her radar. It was while watching a 2012 documentary called The Invisible War.

Joanna Richards

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has been pushing hard to reform the way the military handles sexual assaults. Her proposal was dropped once, but she’s hopeful it will come up for a vote again and succeed. 

Ryan Delaney / WRVO file photo

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is continuing her fight to crack down on sexual assaults in the military in 2014.

The junior senator from New York has been a vocal critic of the way the military deals with sexual assault cases. She points to statistics that showed instances of unwanted sexual contact in the military in 2012 went up by 7,000 compared to two years earlier.