The Military's Sexual Assault Blind Spot

21 Wash. & Lee J. Civil Rts. & Soc. Just. 383 (2015)

Florida International University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 15-05

38 Pages Posted: 27 May 2015

Date Written: April 23, 2015

Abstract

The American military is in a well-publicized struggle to address its sexual assault problem. Critics say that those in the military who run the military justice system have a bias against the victims in these cases, where that bias is likely related to some form of sexism.

This article explores that problem and offers a social psychology explanation that supports the critics' position. This article explains the cognitive process that people use to solve these legal problems and then highlights a serious flaw in that process – the use of inaccurate rape schemas. This article focuses on two potential groups that tend to process rape problems using these schemas and uses data from to other studies to show that those two groups are overrepresented in the military. This article also shows that these inaccurate rape schemas are further amplified in the military context.

From that, it appears that the critics appear to be right. Those in the military who are responsible for solving the rape problem have a cognitive blind spot which prevents them from seeing the problem for what it is.

Keywords: criminal law, sexual assault, social psychology, military law, military justice

Suggested Citation

Carpenter, Eric, The Military's Sexual Assault Blind Spot (April 23, 2015). 21 Wash. & Lee J. Civil Rts. & Soc. Just. 383 (2015) , Florida International University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 15-05 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2598209

Eric Carpenter (Contact Author)

FIU College of Law ( email )

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