Date of Award

5-2015

Culminating Project Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Social Work: M.S.W

Department

Social Work

College

School of Health and Human Services

First Advisor

Deola Brumbaugh-Johnson

Second Advisor

Patience Togo Malm

Third Advisor

Dick Andzenge

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Abstract

It is important that social workers use suitable evidence based practices both when working directly with survivors of military sexual trauma, and while advocating for applicable policy change on a macro level. Research projects such as this study can provide social workers with the valuable material they need to carry out this evidence based practice. Although there has been some previous investigation into the current sexual assault epidemic in the United States military, not enough evidence exists to support the much needed policy changes that could end this epidemic once and for all. As such, this study aims to establish an exploratory research base to point future scholars in a more specific direction in the arena of military sexual assault policy practices. The purpose of the present study was to determine what challenges are currently being faced by survivors of military sexual trauma and what suggestions they have for effective policy change. Six different studies were selected for analysis in this qualitative meta-analysis study. Each study was published within the last five years and answered the following questions: what percent of women who experienced sexual assault filed a report? If so, what type of report was filed and who did they report the assault to? If they chose not to report, what were the reasons or barriers they faced? For those women who reported the assault, was there support for the victims post assault? And finally, what policy suggestions have been made to improve the military's response to sexual assault? Conclusions were drawn based on the most frequent answers given to these questions by the female survivors interviewed in each study. Results indicated that by far, the most common sentiment among female survivors of military sexual trauma is that preventative policy changes would be most effective in changing the environment of rampant sexual assault. These results are consistent with previous research showing that sexual assault in the United States military is perpetuated and even invited as a direct result of military structure and atmosphere; this study suggests that policies aiming to amend this hostile milieu will be most effective in reducing rates of sexual assault in the United States military.

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