Thinking Slow About Sexual Assault in the Military
Matthew Burris, Thinking Slow About Sexual Assault in the Military, 22 Buff. J. Gender, L., & Soc. Pol’y ___ (2014-2015), Forthcoming
38 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2014
Date Written: February 27, 2014
This article examines the current public discourse on sexual assault in the military through the complementary lenses of behavioral economics and the law. The article evaluates the "crisis" narrative central to this discourse and suggests it is not supportable by the best available data. Moreover, the article suggests that in driving potentially counterproductive public policy initiatives, this narrative is harmful to victims of sexual assault. The article recommends several practical steps the Department of Defense might take in the near-term to expose and rebut this harmful narrative and forestall these potentially counterproductive public policy initiatives. These steps include a reappraisal of the rhetoric senior DoD officials employ when speaking publically about the very real problem of sexual assault in the military, as well as advocating for a "whole of government" approach to gathering data on sexual assault and its victims. The article suggests the evidence-based prevention and response solutions impelled by these data hold out the best hope for reducing the incidence of sexual assault in the military.
Keywords: sexual assault, military, behavioral economics
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