Hansen, Emily. Comment. Carry that weight: victim privacy within the military sexual assault reporting methods. 28 J. Marshall J. Computer & Info. L. 551-592 (2011).
I have two reactions to this recent article that discusses the restricted-unrestricted reporting available to military victims of sexual assault: (1) academic discussions of military law topics are rare, and should be encouraged; and (2) this poorly researched, conclusory, and biased article contributes little to the topic of the military response to sexual assault.
This is the essence of a student note. The author knows nothing of military law, and has made no attempt to find out. She states as "facts" the allegations from a lawsuit against the DoD, uncritically accepting those claims as true. Equally unfortunate is her failure to recognize that even if true, nearly all of those allegation pre-date the SAPR reform efforts, and therefore are irrelevant to her claim that commanders continue negligently to expose women to public scrutiny when they file either a restricted or unrestricted report of sexual assault.
Another major source the author uses for her limited understanding of military culture is Representative Speier's STOP act, a less-than-thoroughly researched attack on the military justice system. The author also repeats this statement from another military critic: "the prevalence of sexual
assault in the military is understandable given its hyper-masculine and
misogynistic culture." Really? Isn't the point of research to prove, rather than to assume "misogynistic culture." Does the average soldier or the average commander really hate women? Or is this just a great generalization to support a theory that the current system does not work?
This article adds nothing to the discussion of privacy concerns in sexual assault reports, because it's analysis is uninformed, barely supported, and simplistic. More useful information is available from the SAPRO and SHARP websites, including citations to DoD surveys and reports that are often quite critical of the system.