Lower Standards for Women in Service Academies may play Role in Sexual Harassment and Assault

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 12th, 2014

Week in Review

We have antidiscrimination laws in place to prevent employers from hiring based on skin color instead of ability.  We drug test in sports to keep poorer athletes from using drugs to become better athletes.  As that isn’t fair to athletes who play by the rules.  People rail about unequal pay for women doing the same job as men.  Saying if they are doing the same job as a man they should get the same paycheck as a man.

We do these things to keep things fair.  So the best job applicant gets the job.  The best athlete wins the competition.  And everyone is paid according to their ability.  Without a lower pay scale for women.  Of course, all these ideas of fairness go out the window when it comes to the military (see Sexual harassment in the military: what female cadets have to say by Anna Mulrine, Christian Science Monitor, posted 1/10/2014 on Yahoo! News).

A congressionally mandated Pentagon report, released Friday, gauges sexual harassment and assault at America’s service academies and catalogs comments made by students during focus groups….

The focus-group comments of the cadets offer some insights into why the cadets themselves think the problem is pervasive, and how to best handle it.

When sexual harassment and assaults are prosecuted on campus, they think it might be a good idea to publicize them a bit more, even while protecting the anonymity of victims.

“When these things happen, my concern is, Are they being at all like hushed up?” one West Point cadet told Pentagon interviewers. “I think if we wanted to raise awareness and like say that this is a problem, why isn’t it being publicized when it does happen, even anonymously..?”

A clear theme that comes through in the survey, too, is that cadets of both genders feel that because the physical standards for female cadets are not as strenuous as those for male cadets, the men may have less respect for the women…

Another female cadet noted that because the physical standards are different for men and women at the academies, it is possible for women to get higher scores than men – even though they might not have to do as many push-ups or run a mile as quickly. “That eats him alive,” said one female cadet of a male cadet friend of hers.

Sexual harassment and assault are unacceptable everywhere.  There are no excuses or justification for bad/criminal behavior.  Even if you create a hostile environment by placing men and women together in a competitive environment that makes the men work harder than the women to get a passing grade.

The bigger issue is that the military is now trying to integrate women into combat roles.  Like infantry units that actually use physical strength to survive in a life and death situation.  And the stronger you are the better your chances are of surviving.  Which means anyone getting through military training by meeting lower standards has a lower chance of surviving in combat whenever physical strength determines the outcome of a fight.  Putting these women at risk.  And reducing the fighting strength of the unit.  Which will lose fighting strength once the weaker members (those meeting lower standards during training) are killed off.  Which doesn’t seem fair to the women.  Or the unit.

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