Veterans Law Conference
MeToo & The Military
Golden Gate University
536 Mission St.,
Golden Gate University School of Law (GGU Law) hosts its 7th Annual Veterans Law Conference with the focus on military sexual assault through the lens of the #MeToo movement. The goal of the conference is to highlight the problem of military sexual violence in order to help craft better preventative solutions.
Studies have concluded that a woman serving in the US military is more likely to be sexually assaulted by a fellow soldier than to be killed when deployed to one of the current combat zones. The organization Protect Our Defenders’ fact sheet sets out estimates that 13,000 women and 7,500 men in the military were sexually assaulted in 2018.
The #MeToo Movement that exploded in October 2017 built on the power of this phrase coined by Turana Burke in 2006 to support girls and women of color who have been subjected to sexual violence. The power of the #MeToo movement has shaken a broad spectrum of public and private sectors – political figures, the judiciary, higher education – and industries – entertainment, culinary – just to name a few, and is beginning to lead to legal reforms to better protect and support survivors. There have been recent calls to bring the #MeToo movement to the military, given the history of sexual violence going back to the 1970 Tailhook scandal. While there have been numerous congressional panels and reforms to address the problem of sexual violence in the military, and some success, there remains a long way to go.
This conference highlights the issue of sexual violence in the military and how aspects of this problem are unique to the structure of the military itself, as well as to the nature of the process for reporting, investigating, and punishing. This includes how the preference for reliance on the chain of command impacts and limits the potential for success of other reforms. The conference also highlights how military sexual assault impacts survivors, including post-traumatic stress and other health concerns.
Speakers and topics for this event include:
- The Honorable Justice Eileen C. Moore, Associate Justice at the California Court of Appeals. Justice Moore served as a combat nurse in Vietnam in the Army Nurse Corps. She has been awarded the Vietnam Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Cross of Gallantry with Palm. Since 2008, she has chaired the Judicial Council’s Veterans and Military Families Subcommittee and served for nine years as a mentor in the Veterans Treatment Court.
- Dr. Elizabeth L. Hillman, President of Mills College. Dr. Hillman’s expertise in sexual violence and gender issues in military organizations and culture has brought her national and international recognition. She has been an expert witness testifying before Congress on numerous occasions, including at the Congressional Women’s Caucus hearing to address nonconsensual pornography in the U.S. Military (Marines United). She is a sought-after educator and speaker on the topics of sexual assault and harassment, and women’s leadership and rights. In 2013–2014, she served on the Response Systems to the Adult Sexual Assault Crimes Panel (RSP), and also chaired the RSP’s Comparative Systems Subcommittee.
- Dan Ashley, Anchor at ABC7 News
- Department of Veterans Affairs Presentation
- Military sexual harassment and trauma Panel
- Honoring trial attorney and veteran John W. Keker with the Veterans Legal Advocacy Clinic Veterans’ Champion Award for his and his law firm, Keker, Van Nest & Peters LLP, early support of the clinic. Mr. Keker has helped ensure that VLAC is fully integrated with other veteran service organizations in the Bay Area and beyond.
Attorney MCLE available.
The conference is part of GGU Law’s longtime commitment to veterans’ issues through its Veterans Legal Advocacy Center (VLAC), which provides pro bono legal services to veterans seeking health care and compensation for service-related injuries. Students work on military discharge upgrade applications, on administrative appeal and in U.S. District Court, including other-than-honorable discharges of service members discharged under the military’s repealed “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and those who have suffered military sexual assault and undiagnosed PTSD. The Center makes special efforts to assist the most vulnerable veteran populations and those least connected to existing service networks— recently returned, women, non-citizen, LGBT, and elderly veterans.
GGU Law, which has a proud tradition of expanding access to legal education, is the first law school in Northern California to have a Veterans Clinic on campus.
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