Front and Center: Sexual Violence in U.S. Military Law


Hillman, Elizabeth L. 2009. “Front and Center: Sexual Violence in U.S. Military Law.” Politics & Society 37 (1): 101–29. doi:10.1177/0032329208329753.

Author: Elizabeth L. Hillman


Military-on-military sexual violence—the type of sexual violence that most directly disrupts operations, harms personnel, and undermines recruiting—occurs with astonishing frequency. The U.S. military has responded with a campaign to prevent and punish military-on-military sex crimes. This campaign, however, has made little progress, partly because of U.S. military law, a special realm of criminal justice dominated by legal precedents involving sexual violence and racialized images. By promulgating images and narratives of sexual exploitation, violent sexuality, and female subordination, the military justice system has helped to sustain a legal culture that reifies the connection between sexual violence and authentic soldiering.

Keywords: sexual violence, military justice, legal culture, reform

Topics: Combatants, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Justice, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Security Sector Reform, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Sexuality Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2009

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