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In Their own Words: Service Women's Perceptions of the Role of Alcohol in Sexual Assault in the Military

Cretzmeyer MT, Reisinger HS, Mengeling M, Booth B, Torner J, Sadler AG. In Their own Words: Service Women's Perceptions of the Role of Alcohol in Sexual Assault in the Military. Paper presented at: Women's Research and Education Institute: Women in the Military Annual Conference; 2011 Oct 28; Arlington, VA.


the study used qualitative methods to explore service women's perceptions of the contribution of alcohol to sexual assault and harrassment in the military. Fourteen focus groups were held, eight with groups of OEF/OIF era Reserve/National Guard (R/NG) service women (N = 39) and six with Regualr Military (RM) and Veterans OEF/OIF era service women (N = 22) in five Midwestern states. Groups were stratified by Officer/Enlisted personnel and deployment status. A coding system of relevant themes was developed. Results: Officers and enlisted women from both military groups identified various myths and realities related to the role alcohol plays in sexual assault in the military, both during deployments and stateside. Minor differences between R/NG and RM service women in consensus agreements were noted. Both groups identified ways older service women attempted to protect younger female soldiers from victimization associated with alcohol. Impact: In military sexual assault and harrassment aere contributors to women veterans post deployment mental and physical health problems. alcohol is a known contributor to sexual misconduct and alcohol use by victims may deter access to medical care during deployment as well as willingness to report assault both in military and in VA setings.

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