Women Serving in the Armed Forces Have a Good Chance of Being RapedArticle Review

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Military Veterans

Summary of Two Articles

An article in the Journal of Women's Health ("Sexual Assault in the Military and Its Impact on Sexual Satisfaction in Women Veterans: A Proposed Model") addresses sexual assault in the military (SAIM) and its effect on female members of the military. The key points of this article are that women who have been assaulted while serving in the military do not (in many instances) have pleasurable sexual relationships later in life. The authors have conducted research in order to qualify the association between assault in the military and decreased satisfaction later in life. This research points to an interesting fact: women who have been sexually assaulted while serving their country in the military "…may be more traumatized than other forms of sexual violence" due to the fact that she was assaulted by a "trusted colleague" or a "close colleague" and there may have been a weapon involved (McCall-Hosenfeld, et al., 2009). Also, the perception by the woman that the existing military judicial system did not protect her from this violence makes it all the more traumatic.

The second article chosen for this paper, "Impact of Gender on Reactions to Military Sexual Assault and Harassment," runs along similar lines as the first article, but in a more general way. This article in the peer-reviewed journal Health & Social Work points out that sexual assault in the military can have a "negative effect on health and functioning" even several years or decades after the military service is completed (Bell, et al., 2014). The purpose of this research is advising social workers who may have female military veterans as clients of the need to be sensitive to the fact that one study shows up to 13% of women had experienced sexual assault during their tours of duty (Bell, 25).

Strengths of the McCall-Hosenfeld Article

This article used statistics based on the Veterans Affairs Women's Health Survey, and those statistics are very specific to the issue of a female that has served in the military. For example, the data presented is based on four mediators: a) the quality of life of the veteran based on her emotional health; b) the quality of her life based on physical health; c) the lack of a close partner; and d) any gynecological illness associated with her service and her life after services (McCall-Hosenfeld, 901).

The statistics that were drawn from the research for this article show that of the 3,161 female veterans that answered questions (in the survey) about their sexual satisfaction post-service time, the average age was 45 years, 85% were Caucasian, and 24% reported that they had indeed been sexually assaulted while in the military (McCall-Hosenfeld, 901). Moreover, of those who had been assaulted, 39% reported being dissatisfied sexually following their service (McCall-Hosenfeld, 901).

This clearly is among the strengths of the article. Presenting basic data that shows the reality of what happens to female members of the military. Providing backup evidence to show that the "most prominent mediator" in the association between SAIM and sexual dissatisfaction was a decreased quality of life from mental health-related symptoms is powerful evidence of what happens to female veterans. There were no noticeable weaknesses discerned in this article as it put forward an issue and presented good data and other information about the issue.

Strengths of the Bell Article

The authors point out that 85% of all active duty military personnel are male, and that the military service is overwhelmingly impacted by the "masculinization" of the U.S. military. The authors did an effective job in this article of setting the stage for a full understanding of the dynamics within the military. Soldiers are taught -- and believe -- that physical strength, a huge part of the masculinization required in the military, is necessary in order to fulfill the mission that is the purpose of the military unit (Bell, 26). Along with physical strength -- which is required in order to overcome "enemy combatants" and other "obstacles" -- soldiers are trained to "set aside empathic and emotional responses" (Bell, 26).

By setting aside emotional and empathic responses to their actions, soldiers are able to "risk their lives and kill in combat" (Bell, 26). And the authors make a point that strength, self-sufficiency, and heterosexuality are "often largely compared in substance" to what men are exposed to in civilian life, only in the military these male qualities… [END OF PREVIEW]

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