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When will the military have its #MeToo moment?

Sexual misconduct remains a substantial issue for service members

The rise of #MeToo and #TimesUp has had little impact on rates of sexual assault in the military. Can it be prevented? Join our world-renowned panel of experts to answer this critical question, and others.

Event details
Date and time:
Wednesday 17 July, 6 – 7.30pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre 200, Social Sciences Building
The University of Sydney (Camperdown/Darlington Campus)
Entry: free and open to all with online registrations essential.

As global movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp rapidly gain momentum in exposing systemic sexual assault and abuse, the military appears to have been left behind.

Despite major scandals and an increased awareness of military sexual violence across national military organisations, public commitments to preventing sexual harassment have been relatively hollow and rates of violence have not decreased.

Last year sexual assaults in the US military increased by almost 38 percent, according to a recent report by the Pentagon. In Australia the Department of Defence reported earlier this year that the number of sexual misconduct victims for 2017-18 was "similar" to  2016-17.

In addition, #MeToo and #TimesUp do not seem to have resonated with survivors of sexual violence within national militaries. While public attention to military sexual violence – including media coverage – remains largely focused on scandals, such as the infamous 2011 ‘Skype sex scandal,’ there is a glaring lack of attention devoted to overall data or trends around military sexual assault.

This panel brings together some of the world’s leading experts to discuss why military sexual violence remains a persistent problem across many national militaries, including the Australian Defence Force and the US military.

Panellists will aim to get to the heart of this issue and answer the following questions.

  • How does the media talk about military sexual assault?
  • Why haven’t the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements been embraced by service members?
  • Is military sexual violence an ‘inevitable’ by-product of having men and women working together – can it be prevented?

The speakers

Samantha is a Director at Rapid Context and has 20 years of experience in the design, implementation, analysis and reporting of strategic and academic research. Samantha began her career as an academic specialising in Sociology of Health before starting her own consulting business, which has taken on major research projects related to military culture and gender integration.

Eda Gunaydin (BA Hons I, Medal) is a graduate student in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney. Her key research interests are in the areas of identity, and postcolonial and discourse theory in international relations. She has worked as a researcher in the Department since 2015, and is the lead researcher of the military sexual violence project headed by Professor Megan MacKenzie.

Ellen Haring is the Chief Executive Officer at the Service Women's Action Network. She is also a senior fellow at Women in International Security where she directs the Combat Integration Initiative project. Her research and work focuses on women and gender in the military. Haring is a West Point graduate, a retired Army colonel, and an adjunct associate professor at Georgetown University where she teaches courses on Human Security and Women, Peace and Security.

Shannon Sampert is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Winnipeg and Director and Editor-in-chief of Evidence, an organisation that works with policy researchers in the dissemination of their research through Canadian media. Recently, she also took a leave from academia to work as the first female Op-ed Editor in the Winnipeg Free Press’s 140-year history. Her research focuses on Canadian politics, media and gender.

Antonieta Rico is the former Director of Communications and Policy at the Service Women's Action Network (SWAN) and an advocate for military women and women veterans. She served in the U.S. Army and has deployed to Iraq, where she embedded with infantry units during day-to-day missions and combat operations. She is a Fellow at Women in International Security, has worked as a deputy news editor at Army Times, and has written for TIME about the military's sexual assault epidemic and the #MeToo movement.

Megan Mackenzie is a Professor of Gender and War in the Department of Government and International Relations and an Honorary Associate at the United States Studies Center at the University of Sydney. Her research is broadly aimed at reducing war; it bridges feminist theory, critical security studies, critical military studies, and international relations. Megan’s research projects include an international analysis of military suicide, military sexual assault, and the integration of women into combat roles.

Event information

This event is free and open to all but online registration is essential.

Simply click the 'Register now' button or follow this link.

Entry to ticket holders will be prioritised and given on a first-in, best-dressed basis until the room reaches capacity. If an event is full, this may result in standing room or delayed admittance until an appropriate time.

We recommend early arrival to allow time for finding the venue and securing a seat to the event. Doors open 30 minutes before the advertised start time. 

If you could not register but would like to attend, you are welcome to join a stand-by queue on the night as seats may become available due to late cancellations. Please note, this is not guaranteed so you come at risk of non-admittance.

This venue provides wheelchair access, hearing loop and infrared hearing system.

Access requirements

If you have other access requirements or want more information, get in touch with us on 9351 2943 or email with 'Access | July 17 – Military' in the subject line at the earliest opportunity to allow us time to organise for any additional services in time for the event.

This event takes place at SSB Lecture Theatre 200, which is on Level 2 of the Social Sciences Building (enter via Science Road). 

There will be directional signage on the day leading to the theatre. You may also refer to the map on this page. 

Public Transport

To help you plan your trip, visit


Buses to the University are readily available from Railway Square, Central Station (Broadway). Please use campus maps tool and tick the ‘State transit bus stops’ box under the ‘Amenities’ column to view all possible bus stops.

  • via Parramatta Road: Take one of these buses: 412, 436, 438, 439, 440, 461, 480, 483, m10, L38 or L39 and alight at the Footbridge on Parramatta Road. It's roughly 5 minute walk to venue.
  • via City Road: Take one of these buses: 352, 370, 422, 423, 426, 428, m30, L23 or L28 and alight at the footbridge before Butlin Avenue. Cross the road or go across the bridge and take Eastern Avenue towards the Quadrangle, and turn into Science Road. It's roughly a 12-minute walk to the venue.

The venue is roughly 30 minutes walk from Redfern Station. Catch a train to Redfern Station and take Lawson Street up to Abercrombie Street. At the roundabout, follow Codrington Street up to Butlin Avenue. Follow Butlin Avenue through to the campus and up Eastern Avenue towards the Quadrangle and turn into Science Road. Keep walking along there – the venue will be on the right.

There is some on-street parking around Forest Lodge and Glebe.

There is also paid parking available at Western Avenue Carpark. Head to the University's Parking page for more information about fees and opening hours.

Use the University Campus Maps tool to find out more details about parking and access areas: search for the 'Social Sciences Building'. 

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