Vulnerable Warriors: Military Women, Military Culture, and Fear of Rape

Rose Weitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Fear of sexual violence constrains women’s lives in many ways. Underlying that fear is a set of widely shared cultural discourses which define women as physically vulnerable, assume women are incapable of protecting themselves and others, stress the ubiquity of male sexual predators, and hold women responsible for avoiding such predators. This article explores the ways in which service in the U.S. military, where sexual assaults appear to be especially common, and immersion in masculinist military culture can both challenge and reinforce women’s belief in these discourses. Data come from 25 in-depth, semi-structured interviews conducted during 2012 and 2013 with a non-random sample of women who were current or former U.S. military members. All participants were under age 45 and had deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan at some point; some participants reported fear of rape during their military service and some did not.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-183
Number of pages20
JournalGender Issues
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 29 2015


  • Fear of rape
  • Military
  • Sexual assault
  • Veterans
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies


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