GIR Colloquium | Sexual Violence in the Australian Defence Forces: mapping three decades of scandal and 'zero tolerance'?

24 May, 2018
1:00pm - 2:30pm


This research examines nearly three decades of media coverage, and policy responses to sexual violence and assault in the Australian Defence Forces (ADF). This presentation focuses on media coverage of sexual violence and assault in the ADF, including trends, consistent frames, and patterns over time. This research focuses on several questions, including ‘why do particular events become framed as ‘scandals?’ We also identify consistent frames used to present sexual violence and assault as ‘exceptional.’ Finally, we outline how the ‘zero tolerance’ mantra is used consistently by policy makers in the wake of sexual violence scandals and note the consistent ways that politicians and policy makers make claims that the military does not tolerate regular assaults.


About the speakers:

Associate Professor Megan MacKenzie is an Associate Professor in Government and International Relations. Her research bridges feminist international relations, security studies, and development studies and broadly examines gender, war, and militarism. Her recent research focuses on women's experiences as service members, including as combat soldiers. Megan is also working on a collaborative project focused on the impacts of transitional justice mechanisms. In particular, the project looks at the long-term effects of the truth and reconciliation commission in Sierra Leone and the extent to which it achieved its lofty objectives.


Eda Gunaydin is a current PhD candidate at the University of Sydney, studying postcolonial theory through the lens of Kurdish politics in Turkey and Syria. Her honours thesis, entitled 'Malleable allies? An applied discourse analysis of foreign policy, Kurdish identity and agency in Syria' received the University Medal and the Michael W. Jackson Prize in Fourth Year Government. She works as a research assistant to several academics in the Department of Government.


Umeya Chaudhuri is a final semester Bachelor of Arts (Hons I)/Laws student at the University of Sydney. Her Honours thesis in the Department of Government and International Relations titled ‘M[a]sking Education: A securitising discourse of the “Heroic Third World Girl” Malala Yousafzai’ received the Helen Nelson Prize. Throughout her studies she has also received the Socio-Legal Studies prize and a Judicial Conference of Australia Scholarship for Social Justice. She currently works as a Research Assistant in both the University of Sydney School of Law and Department of Government and International Relations.

Location: Merewether Room 498, Butlin Avenue, University of Sydney