Rape, Reform, and Reaction

Gender and Sexual Violence in the U.S. Military

Authored by: Elizabeth L. Hillman , Kate Walsham

The Routledge History of Gender, War, and the U.S. Military

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138902985
eBook ISBN: 9781315697185
Adobe ISBN:


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Like the impact of gender norms in U.S. military history as compared to their impact on U.S. history overall, rape and sexual violence have had a distinctive, perhaps outsized, role in shaping U.S. military culture, society, and law. During and in between wars, U.S. military personnel have committed sexual violence against civilians as well as service members, against persons of all genders, in war zones, and during training and periods of leave. The tendency of these crimes to go unreported by victims, who were often wary of the consequences of accusing service members, makes empirical claims about prevalence and incidence rates difficult to track across time and place. Nonetheless, the historical record of investigations, prosecutions, and narratives reveals that rape and sexual violence have accompanied the U.S. military in its operations foreign and domestic, across eras of military technology, strategy, and demographics.

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