Saturday, October 4, 2008

U.S. Army Has New Program to Combat Sexual Violence

The article “Rate of Sexual Assault in Army Prompts an Effort at Prevention” by Yochi J. Dreazen in the October 3rd Wall Street Journal would have been good news if it wasn’t actually bad news.

The good news is that the Army is launching a new war against sexual violence within the military.

The bad news is that this is a response to new Pentagon data indicating these figures for last year:

Army: 2.6 soldiers per 1,000 reported a sexual assault

Marine Crops and Navy: 1.1 per 1,000 reported a sexual assault

Air Force: 1.6 per 1,000 reported a sexual assault

What’s more bad news is that the Army only began tracking this statistic in 2006! So the Army doesn’t know whether the situation is getting worse.

According to the Journal article:

The service has long focused on dealing with the aftermath of an assault. Now it will try to prevent the crime from occurring in the first place.

As a feminist from way back, I do believe that training is needed to de-sensitize men from looking upon women as sexual objects. Yet to make such training stick, I also believe there have to be consequences for inappropriate language as well as behavior. And the leaders have to model correct language and behavior.

We’ll have to wait until the next time the Army’s assault statistics are reported to learn whether this new program has made any difference.

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