Professor of Gender and War. University of Sydney

New bill introduced in congress to protect male victims of military sex assault

SUMMARY: A new bill addressing male victims of sexual assault has been sponsored by U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, a Lowell Democrat, who serves on the House Armed Services Committee, and has already introduced several bills that were later passed into law addressing sexual assault in the military and body armor for female troops. The SUPPORT ( Support Uniformed Patriots; Prevent Offenses and Restore Trust) Act, addresses several aspects of sexual assault in the military, including efforts to stop retaliation against troops who report the sexual assault. One of those aspects is to encourage more male victims of sexual assault to come forward by changing the way service members are trained about the issue. Studies have shown that as few as 13% of male victims are likely to report assault, while 40% of female victims reported sexual assault in 2014. There have also been several barriers that male victims face, including the fact that up until 2013 the Department of Defense definition of rape was “the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.” Re-educating and training servicemen and servicewomen is one step towards tackling this issue.

SOURCE: Michael Hartwell, April 28 2015, ‘ Tsongas bill looks to protect male victims of military sex assault,’ LowellSun,

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