From the mean streets of Birmingham, Alabama, to the halls of academia, and from GED to Ph.D., Johnnetta McSwain, MSW, author, "Rising Above the Scars", sexual and domestic violence expert, adjunct professor, and international empowerment speaker extraordinaire, shares her personal 12 step journey of how an African American woman triumphed and overcame vicious cycles of unimaginable childhood sexual, physical and emotional abuse, violence and self-destruction.
Over the years, we have been building towards monumental military justice reform. This year, we have never been closer. Both the House and the Senate have introduced bold pieces of legislation to amend the justice system, and DoD leadership, for the first time, is speaking in support of an overhaul. And for good reason. Sexual assault numbers peaked at 20,500 in 2018, and a recent DoD IG report just determined that 64% of military special victims cases did not have appropriately trained trial counsel (or prosecutors) assigned to them.
In 2018, the Department of Defense estimated that 20,500 members of the U.S. military were sexually assaulted. This is the highest number since 2005 and constitutes a nearly 50% increase in the number of assaults against women (DOD SAPRO, 2019). Despite the creation of the DOD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office in 2005, prevention efforts have failed to adequately counter the culture of misogyny and harassment in the U.S. military that contribute to the epidemic of sexual violence.