Sexual Harassment and Discrimination in the Military

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Women in the U.S. military have always had a "tough row to hoe"; those women who literally broke ground, opened doors, and made the choice of a military career easier for those who followed, were the beginning. Today the fight is continuing. Inequality and sexual harassment towards women continues to persist, because the military¡¦s leadership when faced with the option of ill repute or justice ignores justice. Women deserve fair treatment, a non-hostile environment, and a chance to further their careers on an equal footing with man. The fact that harassment, discrimination, and sexual assaults are still occurring in our esteemed military in such numbers is appalling. The military¡¦s overall treatment, lack of respect in handling sexual harassment accusations and the repeated cover-ups of sexual harassment/assault crimes committed by generals is a national disgrace. Nonetheless, we can only make reparation for past injustices, plan to prevent them from occurring again, and hope that tomorrow will be better than yesterday. To make tomorrow better than yesterday The Uniform code of Military Justice needs a complete overhauled. Last updated in 1983, the code is lacking any mention of the term sexual harassment. Thought this is a startling realization to us civilians, it is total normal for the military. Sexual harassment, though not mentioned in the code, is a crime under Article 134; ¡§Article 134 is the catch-all of this nation¡¦s military justice system, a compendium of 55 offenses that the armed forces say are prejudicial to good order and discipline or likely to bring discredit on the service¡¨(Gross-Justice¡K). Article 134 establishes an extremely high standard of conduct to maintain an orderly fighting force and prevent abuses of power in a hierarchical system where men and women live and work together 24 hours a day. Sexual harassment is an offense committed by both females and males in assorted measures; it is predominately committed by males against females. It can ¡§occur in a variety of circumstances¡Ksome examples include: sexual insults, whistling, catcalls, pressure for sexual activity, [seeing girly magazines] and pinching¡¨(Facts¡K). Very simply, sexual harassment is any unwanted and unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that creates a hostile work environment; usually engaged in by co-worker or supervisor, which renders the workplace atmosphere intimidating, offensive and can/will interfere with work performance and group cohesion. ¡§Sexual harassment is an important issue and should not be taken lightly; on the other hand, it should not be taken out of control either¡¨(Facts¡K). The military is full of political correctness. Soldiers and officers constantly have to watch what they say. For instance, a common line heard describing this atmosphere of political correctness is, "I can't talk to this other person if this other person is of a different culture or a different sex. I'm very uncomfortable." This is usually the case because what is harassment to one person is a joke to another.

Women¡¦s experiences with inequality have been similar to those of black men; their integration into the military has also differed in several ways. Because of our society¡¦s fundamental belief that going to war is a man¡¦s job, men from minority groups have often been accepted more readily in the military than women. Women have been viewed as outsiders in this male environment. Discrimination and harassment occurs for women because they are entering an all male dominated area. Some areas are still restricted because of it. For example: serving in direct combat capacities such as infantry, and Special Forces¡Xis limited to men. Though this policy is rational in light of one, the physical handicaps of women; and two, the image of sending women home in body bags, which no U.S. senator wants too take credit for. Even so, this gender bias is a discriminatory policy, and a limiting of opportunities for women. If women...
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