How the Nation Justifies Military Sexual Assault

Image: Duntroon Canberra Tourist Bureau [Flickr-CC]

Event details

IR Seminar

Date & time

Monday 19 August 2019


Coombs Extension 1.13
ANU Canberra


Professor Megan MacKenzie, University of Sydney


Dr Nicolas Lemay-Hébert
+61 2 6125 0919

Despite numerous scandals, inquiries, and calls for zero tolerance over the past three decades, military sexual violence rates in Australia remain high. How does the nation make sense of, and potentially justify, persistently high military sexual violence rates? Moreover, how has the Australian Defence Force (ADF) remained one of the most trusted institutions - associated with order, discipline, and honour - despite long-standing and regular evidence of internal military sexual violence? This presentation will explore these questions, drawing on an analysis of nearly thirty years of media coverage of military sexual violence. The presentation will include an overview of dominant frames and narratives used to cover this issue, myths and stereotypes perpetuated by the media across time, and patterns associated with scandals and grand statements of zero tolerance by military leaders.

Megan MacKenzie is a Professor of Gender and War in the Department of Government and International Relations and an Honorary Associate at the United States Studies Center at the University of Sydney. Her research is broadly aimed at reducing war; it bridges feminist theory, critical security studies, critical military studies, and international relations. Megan’s research projects include an international analysis of military suicide, military sexual assault, and the integration of women into combat roles.

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