New episode of Ms.’s On the Issues Podcast—Combatting Military Sexual Assault: Who Guards our Coast Guard? (with Melissa McCafferty)


On the Issues with Michele Goodwin is a popular, issues and policy-focused podcast featuring feminist analysis, insightful conversations and exciting guests. This is the first podcast from Ms. magazine, a legacy feminist publication. In each bi-weekly episode, host Dr. Michele Goodwin and special guests will tackle the most compelling issues of our times, centering feminist concerns about rebuilding our nation and advancing the promise of equality. 

A new episode—Combatting Military Sexual Assault: Who Guards our Coast Guard? (with Melissa McCafferty)—is available now on Apple PodcastsSpotify and

Report after report has shown that sexual harassment and assault are pervasive throughout the U.S. armed forces: at least 15.7 percent of military personnel and veterans reported military sexual trauma, a number that is likely smaller than the actual total due to shame and fear around reporting. What’s more, perpetrators are rarely if ever held accountable: according to a recent ProPublica investigation, more than half of the 900 soldiers who were allowed to leave the Army in the past decade rather than go to trial were accused of violent crimes. In this episode, Dr. Goodwin is joined by Melissa McCafferty, a former Lieutenant with the United States Coast Guard and current advocate for military sexual assault victims, to discuss how women are speaking out—and demanding change in the face of a culture that seeks to silence and disenfranchise survivors.

A full transcript of the episode may be found here, as well as a few excerpts below:

“I had repeatedly tried to resolve this internally, before realizing that it was never going to be resolved internally and that it had to be done through external pressure, either through the media or through the Senate—which is, ultimately, what it came down to.” —Melissa McCafferty

“I was able to tell my story and was able to bring voices to those who are unable to speak currently due to retaliation fears or because they’re still in and concerned about their careers, or to those who no longer have a voice because they’ve either died by suicide or some other reason.” —Melissa McCafferty

“When I worked on the Commandant’s Advisory Group at headquarters, I was often struck, to put it politely, by almost a perceived inability to consistently do the right thing, the moral thing, the moral obligation that we hold as officers and are charged with via our oath and statutory and mandated authorities to fulfill on behalf of ourselves, our institution, and the American public.” —Melissa McCafferty

Meet the Host of On the Issues: Dr. Michele Goodwin is executive producer with Ms. Studios, as well as a frequent contributor to Ms. Magazine and on She is a Chancellor’s Professor at the University of California, Irvine and also serves on the executive committee and national board of the ACLU. Dr. Goodwin is a prolific author and an elected member of the American Law Institute, as well as an elected Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the Hastings Center. Her most recent book, Policing The Womb: Invisible Women and The Criminalization of Motherhood is described as a “must read.”

About Ms. Magazine: Co-founded by Gloria Steinem in 1972 and published by the Feminist Majority Foundation since 2001, Ms. magazine has been a trusted, popular source for feminist news and information in print and online for nearly 50 years. Ms.’s time-honored traditions of an emphasis on in-depth investigative reporting and feminist political analysis have never been more relevant, bringing a new generation of writers and readers together to share news, analysis, research and strategies for fighting back and moving forward, for shaping the future.


If you would like more information on the On the Issues with Michele Goodwin podcast, or to schedule an interview with Host and Executive Producer Michele Goodwin or Executive Producer & Ms. Executive Editor Katherine Spillar, please email