Perceptions of gender norm stereotypes and the decision to report military sexual trauma : a multiple case study of enlisted Army National Guard service members.


Gender norm stereotypes in the Army National Guard continue to perpetuate a masculine narrative, often deterring enlisted service members from reporting incidents of sexual assault and sexual harassment. This qualitative case study explored Army National Guard enlisted service members’ experiences with gender norm stereotypes and explored enlisted service members’ perceptions of how gender norm stereotypes influence an enlisted service members decision to or to not report incidents of military sexual trauma (MST). The purpose of this multiple case study was to explore Army National Guard enlisted service members’ perceptions of gender norm stereotypes and how these perceptions could potentially affect an enlisted service member’s decision to or not to report incidents of MST through the lens of social role theory (Eagly & Wood, 2012). I purposefully selected the four participants in this study using specific inclusion and exclusion criteria. I recruited participants first through a recruiting email and a questionnaire. From the questionnaire, I selected 4 participants who met inclusion criteria. Following, I conducted semi-structured interviews with the participants and collected related artifacts. There were five key findings in this study. First, male service members were identified to serve in roles that were more physical, while females were identified to serve in more technical roles. Second, service members had differing experiences with discrimination while serving in the Army National Guard, based on gender and differing displays of emotion. Third, participants believe that a non-supportive environment in the Army National Guard potentially creates space for incidents of MST. Fourth, there is a fear of retribution amongst service members for reporting MST. Fifth and finally, there is an inherent gender role status, as there are more males in positions of power than there are females. This study emphasizes the need for Army National Guard program reform and a culture shift within the Army National Guard to encourage reporting incidents of MST.