Women in the Battlefield and the Barracks:
A Five-Part Series on Two War Fronts for Women Soldiers


H. Patricia Hynes
January – February 2012

The first decade of the 21st century was a record one for women serving in the US military: Women constituted 14 percent of all active duty military (over 200,000), with one in ten serving in the Middle East and 17 percent in the National Guard. Women soldiers in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, though barred from ground combat, have worked in as dangerous situations as men. These same women have found themselves, concurrently, the target of sexual assault by “brothers in arms” at nearly twice the rate of US society. Military sexual trauma is so severe that it is more likely to cause post-traumatic stress disorder in women than combat trauma and civilian sexual trauma – because of military culture.

In this series, “The Battlefield and the Barracks: Two War Fronts for Women Soldiers,” H. Patricia Hynes probes the magnitude of sexual assault and harassment of women in the military. What is it about military culture that results in such extreme sexual crime? Why is sexual assault so traumatizing for women soldiers? What are the responses of the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration to the epidemic of sexual crime in their midst, with its multiple health consequences? And what are the radical changes necessary to reform a recalcitrant military

Read the series of articles at the links below:

Introduction: “The Battlefield and the Barracks: Two War Fronts for Women Soldiers”

Why Do Soldiers Rape?

Military Sexual Abuse: A Greater Menace Than Combat

The Military and the Church: Bedfellows in Sexual Assault

Picking Up the Pieces From Military Sexual Assault

Reforming a Recalcitrant Military