Professor of Gender and War. University of Sydney

Victims of Sexual Assault Face Limited Legal Action and Persistent Sexism at Military Academies

SUMMARY: At all three military academies (West Point, Naval Academy and Air Force Academy), sexual assault perpetrators have less chance of prosecution and an overall culture of misogyny looms large. According to a resent article, the following is a West Point initiation chant: ‘I wish that all the ladies were holes in the road and I was a dump truck. I’d fill ’em with my load.” Ashley Anderson and Elizabeth Deutsch are student members of a legal clinic at Yale Law School, assisting the Service Women’s Action Network mount legal action against these academies. Military academies are not bound by the same laws as civilian colleges and excluded from the legislative complaint mechanisms, because Congress exempted service academies from Title IX in 1972. Title IX requires all state-funded schools to eliminate sex discrimination and therefore protects civilian students, as they can file complaints with the Department of Education for discriminatory practices, including mishandling sexual misconduct. Conversely, students on military campuses can only file individual complaints of sexual misconduct, but the investigation and disciplinary action (if any at all) are contained within the chain of command. Anderson and Deutsch call on President Obama to act, in his capacity as commander in chief, to provide legal protection and oversight into military academies and their handling of sexual misconduct.

SOURCE: Ashley Anderson and Elizabeth Deutsch, May 12 2015, ‘Stop Assaults on Military Campuses,’ New York Times,

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