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Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Air Force Major Matthew Burris - Thinking Slow About Sexual Assault in the Military (UCMJ Article 120)


Another voice in the abyss (that being the public narrative about rape and sexual assault court-martial allegations in the military justice system, UCMJ Article 120)...  

Air Force JAG Major Matthew Burris has written a scholarly article entitled "Thinking Slow About Sexual Assault in the Military" to be published in the Buffalo Journal of Gender, Law, and Social Policy.  It can be accessed here (click on "Download This Paper" button to download the entire article):

In his paper, Maj Burris challenges the public narrative about the "epidemic" of rape and sexual assault in the military and the "failures" of the military justice system to appropriately address this "crisis."  He advocates what is referred to as "slow thinking" to combat the incorrect assumptions at the heart of the public narrative.

As I stated in public commentary to the article:

"I think it’s interesting that this article was written by an Air Force Judge Advocate, only because the recently departed USAF TJAG appeared to me to either be one of the “fast thinkers” or was, at least, willing to largely accept the narrative of the fast thinkers – as are so many others in the highest ranks and levels in the DoD and government.  Good for Maj Burris, but I’m guessing a link to this paper won’t end up on the USAF TJAG’s website…they have to keep room for more links to “significant sexual assault convictions” “the success of the SVC program” and other items that feed the narrative of the “fast thinkers.”  Maj Burris’ standard disclaimer that the “views expressed in the article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Air Force, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government” could, sadly, not be more true."

Nevertheless, I applaud Major Burris for addressing a hot topic from an unpopular perspective.  Below, I want to compile some others who have taken a public stand on the topic of the wildly inaccurate public narrative about alleged sexual assaults in the military and the handling of military rape and sexual assault cases in the military justice system, including court-martial trials/results:

USMC Capt Lindsay Rodman (military rape/sexual assault statistics):

Attorney Edward Greer (the 2% false rape allegation myth):

Philip Rumney, of Sheffield Hallam University.  His article appears in the Cambridge Law Journal here (the 2% false rape allegation myth):

Professor Anne Hendershott, who teaches sociology and is the Director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio.  Her article appears in the Washington Times, here: 

Roxanne Jones, who is a founding editor of “ESPN The Magazine” and a former Vice President at ESPN. She is a national lecturer on sports, entertainment and women's topics and a recipient of the 2010 Woman of the Year award from Women in Sports and Events.  Her insightful CNN editorial about false rape allegations generally can be found here:

Maj Gen Charles Dunlap, who is the former USAF DJAG.  His paper can be found here:

A discussion of that paper can be found here:

Charles "Cully" Stimson, who is with the Heritage Foundation.  His paper can be found here:

While there are other authors/articles along these lines, their voices are drowned out by the masses - Congress, the President, military leadership, DoD and government officials, advocacy groups, the press, and the public.  How can the public narrative be so slanted?

For more information about the military justice system, particularly cases alleging rape and/or sexual assault in violation of UCMJ Article 120, type "rape" or "sexual assault" into the search bar above the blog posts.  See also:

We offer free initial consultations for a case you may be involved in.  Just call us.

Thank you.   

By: Attorney Richard V. Stevens
Civilian criminal defense lawyer and military defense lawyer
Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, P.C.

Blog postscript: Attorney Frank J. Spinner and I (attorney Richard V. Stevens) are former active duty military lawyers (JAG). Our perspectives and advice, therefore, are based upon our experience as military defense lawyers and as civilian criminal defense lawyers practicing exclusively in the area of military law and military justice. This blog addresses issues in military law, military justice, military discipline, military defense, court-martial practice, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and other military and/or legal topics. Nothing posted in this blog should be substituted for legal advice in any particular case. If you seek legal advice for a particular case, please contact The Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens and The Law Office of Frank J. Spinner for a free consultation. These military defense law offices are located in Northern Florida (Pensacola, Ft Walton, Destin, Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field, Duke Field, Panama City, Tyndall AFB areas) and Colorado Springs, Colorado (FT Carson, Peterson AFB, Air Force Academy, Schriever AFB, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Buckley AFB areas), but our military defense law practices are worldwide – we travel to wherever our clients are stationed or serving and need us.

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