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Examining men’s experiences of being victims of sexual offences during military service and scrutinising the military response in the UK.

   Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

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  Dr Charlotte Herriott, Dr Lauren Godier-McBard, Prof Matt Fossey  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

This PhD presents an important opportunity to gather novel insights into men’s experiences as victims of sexual violence in the UK armed forces, as well as their accounts of the reporting process, military response, and their experience of the service justice system [SJS].

Countless recent media reports have detailed significant levels of sexual harassment, bullying, and serious sexual offences perpetrated by and against serving personnel across the UK armed forces. Meanwhile, official statistics reveal that up to 99% of service personnel have experienced some form of generalised sexual behaviours in the past 12 months, whether personally or directed at another (Markson, 2018; MOD, 2015; Rutherford, Schneider, & Walmsley, 2006). The impact of this sexual victimisation can be far-reaching; increasing the likelihood of mental health difficulties such as depression, anxiety and PTSD, substance misuse problems, sleep disorders.

Whilst servicewomen tend to be overrepresented as victims of sexual offences in the UK military (MOD, 2021), meaning that the bulk of existing research on military sexual violence has focused on women; the experiences of male victims must equally not become overlooked or neglected. In fact, servicemen are more likely to be sexually victimised than civilian men; accounting for almost a quarter (24%) of reported sexual offences victims in the SJS (MOD, 2021), compared to 16% in the civilian system (ONS, 2021). Whistle-blowers have described rape against servicemen as “pretty routine” and “predictable” (Crone, 2014), though research indicates that the overwhelming majority never make an official report due to engrained perceptions of shame and stigma (Philips, 2019). Indeed, sexual offences are notoriously underreported both in the civilian and military context, however both military personnel and men are even less likely to report (Rutherford et al. 2006; Hammond, 2016); meaning the intersectional barriers faced by servicemen are likely to be significant.

If you would like to discuss this research project, please contact [Email Address Removed]

Candidate requirements

Applications are invited from UK Home fee status only. Applicants should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum upper second class undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a cognate discipline. A Master’s degree in a relevant subject is desirable.

Applicants must be prepared to study on a full-time basis, attending at our Chelmsford campus.

Application Procedures

Applications for a Vice Chancellor’s PhD Scholarship are made through the application portal on our website:

We will review all applications after the submission deadline of 19th March. We will contact shortlisted applicants in the week commencing 3rd April. Interviews will be held between 17th April to 2nd May.

If you have any queries relating to the application process or the terms and conditions of the Scholarships, please email [Email Address Removed].

Documentation required

You will need the following documents available electronically to upload them to the application portal (we can accept files in pdf, jpeg or Word format):

  • Certificates and transcripts from your Bachelor and Master’s degrees, (if applicable)
  • Your personal statement explaining your suitability for the project
  • Passport and visa, or evidence of EU Settlement Scheme (if applicable)
  • Curriculum Vitae

Please note the application form will ask you to upload a research proposal. You should upload your personal statement in this section, as proposals are not required for this scholarship. 

Funding Notes

Applications are open to Home fee status students only. This successful applicant for this project will receive a Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship award which covers Home tuition fees and provides a UKRI equivalent minimum annual stipend for three years. The award is subject to the successful candidate meeting the studentship Terms and conditions which can be found on our website:


2016 (Stander & Thomsen, 2016; Turchik & Wilson, 2010)
Stander, Valerie A, Thomsen, Cynthia J, Sexual Harassment and Assault in the U.S. Military: A Review of Policy and Research Trends, Military Medicine, Military Medicine, pages 20-27
2010, Journal Article, Turchik, Jessica A, Wilson, Susan M, Sexual assault in the US military: A review of the literature and recommendations for the future, Aggression and violent behavior, Aggression and Violent Behavior, pages 267-277, volume 15
2010 (Stander & Thomsen, 2016; Turchik & Wilson, 2010) and ultimately negatively impacting on service personnel’s careers, Ministry of Defence, (Markson, 2018; Ministry of Defence, 2015)
Markson, H, Sexual Harassment Report 2018: Speak Out (Markson, 2018; Ministry of Defence, 2015).
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