GALLAGHER STATEMENT AT HEARING ON PREVENTION AND RESPONSE TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN MILITARY
WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI), the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Military Personnel, delivered the following opening remarks at a hearing on prevention and response to domestic violence in the military.
Rep. Gallagher's remarks as prepared for delivery:
Thank you, Chairwoman Speier. I am happy to be here today in my first hearing as the Ranking Member of the Military Personnel subcommittee…
Today’s hearing addresses the issue of domestic violence… which has NO PLACE in our military… I wish to welcome both of our panels to today’s hearing. I specifically want to thank the survivor that has volunteered to be a witness today. I cannot stress how grateful I am for your courage and willingness to tell your story.
As a former Marine Corps Officer, I had to deal with issues involving domestic violence in my unit. I found it important to discuss and define domestic violence… also called intimate partner violence… for my Marines and Sailors. It includes four types of appalling behavior: physical violence, sexual violence, stalking and psychological aggression. Speaking of the magnitude of the problem… the latest CDC statistics indicate that about 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 10 men have experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime… and reported some form of domestic violence related impact. Over 43 million women and 38 million men experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
These numbers are staggering… In my home state of Wisconsin… domestic violence claimed 72 lives in 2019…. In Green Bay we have a number of organizations like the Golden House and the Wise Women Gathering Place that provide safety and support for victims of domestic violence. Unfortunately, these services are ALWAYS in critical demand.
In the military, the Fiscal Year 2020 report on “Child Abuse and Neglect and Domestic Abuse in the Military” show the rates of most types of incidents have decreased over the past 10 years, but the numbers overall are still very concerning. Additionally, unmarried intimate partner abuse and adult sexual abuse increased at an alarming rate.
There were also six intimate partner abuse fatalities in Fiscal Year 2020. We need to do everything we can to drive these numbers down…. One case… is one too many… when it comes to domestic violence. We also need to commit to the affected families that we will provide them the resources they need to get through these difficult situations. But this is only part of the issue with domestic violence. The other part is trying to prevent domestic violence from ever occurring in the first place.
The prevention part is what I want to understand from our Service representatives on Panel 2. What are we doing and how are we getting after these issues? Do we truly understand the data and are the Services reporting incidents in the same manner, so we know how many cases there are and the magnitude of this issue in the military? I also want to learn about any new initiatives that may improve domestic violence abuse prevention and response.
On Panel 1, I look forward to hearing from our witness that is a survivor of domestic violence and understand your experiences and your thoughts on what can be done to improve the process. We will also hear from a Military Service Organization on their role in domestic violence and the GAO… which just completed an in-depth report on domestic abuse in the military.