Russell Spivak


Over the last century, women have fought for the right to serve their nation in the exact same way men have: in uniform. Women have indeed made enormous strides toward serving in equal measure to their male counterparts. But women are still too often perceived and treated as second-class citizens, inhibiting a genuine realization of their equality in the armed forces. This is exhibited, if not reinforced, by the prevalence of women’s sexual assault while serving their country and the insufficient prosecution thereof. By diagnosing and remedying the insufficiencies in the military justice system’s legal regime governing the prosecution of military sexual assault as well as victim’s insufficient means of redress in civilian courts, we may be able to secure more prosecutions of attackers. This article looks to address this problem. It begins with a background on women’s growing participation in the military, both in how far women have come and what is left to achieve. Section II examines the specific problem of military sexual assault, including its prevalence, impact on the military at large, and the inadequate prosecution process. Section III looks at strategies, both enacted and untaken, to eradicate these underlying causes. Section IV discusses how to change the system to allow victims a realistic shot at pursuing and attaining justice. Section V details a recent case that may open the floodgates for female victims to assert their rights in federal courts, Doe v. Hagenbeck. The article concludes with a recap of the substantive points made as well as a few final thoughts.

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