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Insights from the Marine Corps Organizational Culture Research Project: Sexual Assault and Harassment



military, sexual assault, gender bias, culture, trust, leadership, space


This document was an applied “quick look” report from the Marine Corps Organizational Culture Research (MCOCR) Project. The MCOCR project was conducted between 2017 and 2020 by the Translational Research Group, a multidisciplinary social science research team at Marine Corps University. The project involved interviews and focus groups with 267 active duty U.S. Marines regarding various aspects of culture, but with an emphasis on gender bias, leadership, and cohesion. The project also was informed by the researchers’ enduring presence within a Marine Corps organization and daily interactions with Marines, which assisted them in interpreting research participants’ comments. This particular report focused perspectives on sexual assault that emerged during the interviews and focus groups. The report’s sections address perceptions of the negative consequences of reporting sexual assault, the role of space, leadership failures, loss of trust, and discourses surrounding concepts of toughness and “troublesome females.”


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