SEXUAL ASSAULT IN THE MILITARY: ETHICAL DILEMMA OR NATIONAL SECURITY ISSUE?
Women have fought for equality in society and despite making great strides there is still a level of inequality within specific areas of the United States Armed Forces. While not technically allowed to take part in combat operations, women have been heavily involved in the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. This thesis will search for the answers to why women are still being sexually assaulted while serving and how the U.S. government and armed forces can offer safety and justice to those who volunteer. This thesis will specifically focus on sexual assault policies and the lack of enforcement. I will use the terms sexual assault and military sexual trauma (MST) interchangeably. Major issues of contention concerning sexual assault in the military exist despite damning evidence. Due to our continued participation in two straining and expensive wars as well as added pressure from the media, civilian organizations, and social media outlets this topic has become front page news. Do social trends and social media affect the progression of females within the military or could it hinder progress? How can social media cause adverse effects in high-profile sexual assault cases? Will sexual assault victims ever be able to come forward, get justice, and then move forward with their lives and careers? Sexual assault policies are now more important than ever since our modern day military consists of a volunteer service which is seeing an unprecedented number of lengthy deployments. Additionally this thesis will examine previous policies and their implementation as well as current procedures and possible future initiatives. Furthermore, military officials and their objections and/or denial of these issues will be discussed. Research and data from scholarly and medical experts will be utilized to further bolster my proposals for bettering the policies as well as initiatives to prevent sexual assault.
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