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Sydney Ideas: When will the military have its MeToo moment?

Sexual misconduct remains a substantial issue for service members

Produced by the City of Sydney

As global movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp rapidly gain momentum in exposing systemic sexual assault and abuse, the military appears to have been left behind.

Despite major scandals and an increased awareness of military sexual violence across national military organisations, public commitments to preventing sexual harassment have been relatively hollow and rates of violence have not decreased.

Last year sexual assaults in the US military increased by almost 38 percent, according to a recent report by the Pentagon. In Australia the Department of Defence reported earlier this year that the number of sexual misconduct victims for 2017-18 was “similar” to 2016-17.

In addition, #MeToo and #TimesUp do not seem to have resonated with survivors of sexual violence within national militaries. Public attention to military sexual violence, including media coverage, remains largely focused on scandals, such as the infamous 2011 Skype sex scandal. There is a glaring lack of attention devoted to overall data or trends around military sexual assault.

This panel brings together some of the world’s leading experts to discuss why military sexual violence remains a persistent problem across many national militaries, including the Australian Defence Force and the US military.

Panellists will aim to get to the heart of this issue and answer the following questions:

  • How does the media talk about military sexual assault?
  • Why haven’t the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements been embraced by service members?
  • Is military sexual violence an ‘inevitable’ by-product of having men and women working together – can it be prevented?



Science Rd, Camperdown NSW 2006, Australia


Wednesday 17 July 2019 from 6pm to 7.30pm


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