Boxer, Gillibrand request military statute to criminalize hazing

“We strongly believe that adding a specific anti-hazing statute in military criminal law would not only reinforce the fact that hazing has no place in America’s military, but would also send an unequivocal message that hazing will be met with serious consequences should it occur,” Gillibrand and Boxer wrote.

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The letter was prompted by the recent suicides of hazing victims such as Lance Cpl. Harry Lew and Pvt. Danny Chen. The lawmakers said the suicides show a need for actions to address the issue.

“Our brave service men and women make sacrifices each and every day to keep us safe,” the senators wrote. “They deserve nothing less than to know that we will protect them in return.”

The lawmakers said they appreciate the DOD’s efforts to raise awareness about hazing but that more needs to be done.

“Military hazing is a very real issue that continues to affect the lives of our service men and women, both at home and abroad. ... We appreciate efforts by the Department of Defense to take steps to address this serious issue through training and awareness programs, as well as through improved reporting mechanisms,” the letter stated. “However, recent examples of military hazing demonstrate just how destructive it is and emphasize that more must be done to eliminate hazing practices from our ranks.”

Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calf.) started spearheading the issue in the House after her nephew, Lew, committed suicide in Afghanistan last year.