Ethics and Sexual Harassment
Table of Contents
What can we do?
Who is this affecting?
Ethics and Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment training is mandated by the United States Army to be conducted at least twice annually. In the last ten years, they have experienced the backlash of high profile sexual harassment cases. The incidents of sexual assaults have become a pressing issue not only in the Army but also in other military branches of service, though they have a zero tolerance policy. Army values, Warrior Ethos, Soldiers Creed, NCO Creed are some of the main guidelines that soldiers are expected to follow. Is the Army still experiencing sexual harassment incidents' in the new millennium? The answer is yes, which begs the following questions: Does sexual harassment impact unit readiness? Why does sexual harassment continue to take place? How do we combat this ongoing problem? Lastly, is sexual harassment prevention linked with ethics?
Before getting into the weeds of this ethics paper a definition and statistics of sexual harassment necessary. Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination that involves unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a nature when: submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment, submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting that individual, it creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment (Army Command Policy, 2006). Some statistics include the below: Nine out often women under age 50 who had served in the U. S. Military and who responded to a survey reported having been sexually harassed while in the service. Nearly 113 reported having been raped (Murdoch and Nichol, 1995). A study of 160 female U. S. military personnel showed that 66.2% had experienced verbal sexual harassment, 33.1 % had experienced physical harassment, and 7.3% were sexually assaulted (Wolf, 1995). According to a 1995 Department of Defense study, 78% of women in the military had been harassed on or off duty by military personnel (Coburn, 1996). In the federal workplace, 66% of the sexual harassers were married; 37% of the sexual harassers were supervisors; 43% of the victims were "sure" the offender had harassed other victims; 3% were sure the offender had not harassed other victims. A 1998 survey of 20,400 military personnel found that the commanding officer's attitude toward sexual harassment had a great influence on how much harassment female Soldiers in the unit experienced (Pryor, 1993). With these troubling statistics, one can only surmise that sexual harassment is a serious problem in the military. The question is how do ethics play into this whole crisis. As senior noncommissioned officers we are charged with the responsibility of mission accomplishment and the wellbeing of our Soldiers. When sexual harassment takes place in our Army it directly affects unit readiness, which ultimately hinders mission accomplishment. General Omar Bradley stated that integrity, honesty, and moral conduct are essential elements in a good leader (The Secretary of the Army Senior Review Panel Report on Sexual Harassment, 1997). Many leaders agree with his statement; however, some leaders feel that these values do not apply in their personal lives as well as some aspects of their professional lives. Some maintain that if it doesn't hurt anyone else, an individual can do whatever he or she wishes and that individual's personal life is no person's business. This philosophy applies in the civilian sector to some degree with drug use, alcohol use, having sex, lying, cheating, etc. This philosophy does not work with the Army. The Army requires a high level of professional skill, commitment, and willingness to give our full measure of devotion....
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