May 12th, 2013
12:31 PM ET

Female veterans in Congress decry military's handling of sexual assaults

By CNN's Kevin Liptak

The way the military has prosecuted sexual assaults within its ranks is deplorable, two congresswomen who have served in the armed forces said Sunday, calling for a new system for reporting those kinds of crimes.

Reps. Tammy Duckworth and Tulsi Gabbard, both Democrats, said last week's report indicating a 30% rise in the number of service members anonymously reporting sexual assaults was an indication the military's leadership has failed in its duty to protect members of the armed forces.

"I want the military to be a place where women can succeed and thrive the way I was able to. And the military leadership at this point has shown that they have not been capable of fixing this problem," said Duckworth, who represents Illinois and is an Iraq War veteran.

Speaking on CNN's "State of the Union," Duckworth argued that individuals in positions of power should be able to halt the problem, but have thus far failed in their attempts to stop sexual abuse.

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Filed under: Military