Professor of Gender and War. University of Sydney

Lawsuit to stop US DoD putting commanders in charge pf sexual assault cases

Summary: Four active-duty and ex-service women have launched legal action to stop the Defense Department putting commanders in charge of sexual assault cases in their own unit. Attorney Susan Burke says, “we hope we can get the federal court to help make sure the department doesn’t continue to let people who have known misogynistic and sexist tendencies to be the judges.” There has been a grossly common narrative of sexual assault and harassment claims being investigated and dismissed through minimal disciplinary actions, which catalysed the 4 women into filing this lawsuit. According to a report released in 2014, the number of reported sexual assaults is rising, with 5 983 reports in 2014 compared to 3 604 in 2012. With this trend and the current policies around investigation, reform needs to take place.

Source: Patricia Kime, 2015, ‘ Lawsuit seeks to remove commanders from rape cases,’ Military Times, 2 April,

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