GOP congressman says Kirsten Gillibrand only seeking "attention" with military sexual assault proposal

"It’s certainly not an issue of sexual assault," says Rep. Michael Turner of Gillibrand's motivations

By Katie McDonough

Published February 20, 2014 9:20PM (EST)

Kirsten Gillibrand          (Jeff Malet,
Kirsten Gillibrand (Jeff Malet,

Despite facing opposition from others in Congress, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., continues to advocate for her proposal to remove the investigation of sexual assaults from the military chain of command because she believes it is the better policy than the more modest reforms proposed by others.

But according to Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, Gillibrand is fighting for her proposal because she wants "attention." Because, you know, women. Or something.

From Turner:

[Gillibrand] seriously misrepresents the circumstances of the Defense Department, because she ignores the legislation that was passed. ... I think at this point, it’s certainly not an issue of sexual assault, it’s just an issue of the senator wanting to promote her solution that has already lost. I think she’s getting a whole lot of attention for a debate that’s over.

But while Turner may want to dismiss Gillibrand, survivors of military sexual assault have taken her proposal quite seriously. As Katie Halper at Feministing notes, Gillibrand's proposal has support from major veterans groups and survivors who have advocated against the system that forces them to disclose their abuse to a superior who may know their abuser -- or be their abuser.

As Trina McDonald, who was assaulted while serving in the Navy, points out, "The people that were involved in my assaults were police personnel, security personnel, higher-ranking officers, the people that I would have gone to and reported."

Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

D-n.y. Kirsten Gillibrand Michael Turner Military Sexual Assault