This ongoing project examines nearly four decades of military sexual trauma in the U.S. military in an effort to understand the broader context in which the Defense Department has allowed a culture of sexual harassment and abuse to continue. Using government documents, historical records, news of the time, and additional reporting, this timeline illustrates not just the scandals, but the public, legislative, and military responses, as well as the evolution of the Defense Department’s policy regarding sexual abuse.
The military has repeatedly pledged to eliminate sexual harassment since 1981, possibly earlier. Some of these scandals have resulted in significant policy changes, including the formation of NCIS in response to the 1991 Tailhook scandal. Yet the problem remains.