Criminal Justice & the Rule of Law

The Lawfare Podcast: Ashley Merryman on the ‘Dangerous’ Cycle of Pentagon Sexual Harassment Policy

Katherine Pompilio, Jen Patja, Ashley Merryman
Tuesday, April 25, 2023, 12:00 PM
On the dangerous shortcomings of the Pentagon's “lowest level” policy to address sexual harassment.

Published by The Lawfare Institute
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April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention month. It’s a time—recognized by civilian and U.S. military communities—intended to promote the prevention of sexual violence, especially in U.S. armed forces. In light of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention month, Lawfare Associate Editor Katherine Pompilio sat down with author and attorney Ashley Merryman, who previously served at the Pentagon as Special Advisor for the Department of the Navy’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. They discussed the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment at U.S. military academies, the dangerous shortcomings of the Pentagon's “lowest level” policy to address sexual harassment, how the policy came to be and why it persists, and policy recommendations for the future. You can also read Merryman's Lawfare piece on lowest level policy here

 


Katherine Pompilio is an associate editor of Lawfare. She holds a B.A. with honors in political science from Skidmore College.
Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.
Ashley Merryman is an author and attorney. With Po Bronson, she’s written two New York Times bestsellers, NurtureShock and Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing, bylines for many national publications, and The Sherwood Report, her newsletter on the science of leadership. From 2018-2020, she served at the Pentagon, first, as the Special Advisor on Diversity and Inclusion to the Chief of Naval Operations, and then as Special Advisor for the Department of the Navy’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. Merryman is currently a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Joint Special Operations University. The views expressed in this piece do not reflect that of the Defense Department or the Joint Special Operations University.

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