Victim advocate calls for accountability, Fort Bliss gives details about new effort

Local

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Fort Bliss is giving more details about their new effort to combat sexual assault and harassment.

However, a veteran who now works as a military sexual assault victim advocate is reacting to Fort Bliss’s announcement, telling KTSM accountability is important.

“We’ve been launching task forces and programs and written policies and we have regulations but the real change is going to happen when we start holding people accountable for their actions,” said Crystal Romero a veteran and victim advocate.

Lieutenant Colonel Dennis R. Williams the Chief of Plans for the First Armored Division at Fort Bliss explained the goals of Operation Ironclad with KTSM 9 News.

“A safe environment and fostering a culture of mutual respect and trust across our whole community does involve accountability. So we’re very deliberate about that, and this is an effort that all levels of leadership and everybody is well invested in this said,” said Lieutenant Colonel Williams.

Williams says parts of the effort includes prevention and speeding up rulings.

“Not only are we providing the best care that we can for the victims and responding to incidents were also making sure that we can adjudicate cases faster,” said Williams. “For example were creating a second courtroom to allow cases to proceed more quickly. And then there’s the effort to actually prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment.”

Congresswoman Veronica Escobar also responding to the announcement of Operation Ironclad.

“Despite years of commitments by Defense Department officials and military leaders, the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment continues to climb, which is why urgent reform is needed,” said Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, Vice-Chair of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel. “I’ve kept in close contact with Maj. Gen. Bernabe about events at Fort Bliss, and his decision to create Operation Ironclad is a step in the right director to improve service member safety and freedom from sexual violence.”

As we’ve reported the effort is called Operation Ironclad and includes 40 separate initiatives.

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