What propelled them to join forces were the haunting stories of two female soldiers who lived in fear not of the enemy but of their fellow troops and felt they had nowhere to turn. In 2007, Representative Mike Turner, a Republican from Ohio, then in his third term, and freshman Representative Niki Tsongas, a Massachusetts Democrat, barely knew each other.
But, shocked to learn of an unchecked culture of sexual violence in the ranks, they committed to a common goal: ridding the military of a predatory epidemic they came to see as deeply ingrained and virtually ignored by Pentagon leaders.
Nearly all of the new laws enacted in recent years — including a sweeping set of new laws signed by President Obama Thursday — have the fingerprints of the quiet diligence of Turner and Tsongas, both members of the House Armed Services Committee. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.