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Sexual Harrassment In The Military

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Social Issues

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Yes, the military does have sexual harassment and discrimination against women in the nineties. "Firestone and co-researcher Richard J. Hurns analyzed a 1988 DOD Survey of men and women in the military and found that 51.8 % of men and 74.6% of women reported either experiencing or knowing of sexual harassment. Amoung the women surveyed, 70.1% had experienced "sexual talk or behavior at the work place [that] created an offensive, hostile or intimidating environment." Amoung the men, 36.9% gave the same answer."(1) The percent of women being sexually harassed is much higher than the percent of men being harassed. Even though it is not tolerated, it still happens regardless of the consequences, even in the nineties.
While some women's experiences 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 protecting the home and going to war are a man's work, men from minority groups have often been accepted more readily in the military than the women. Women have been viewed as outsiders in a male environment. Discrimination and harassment occurs for women because we are entering an all male dominated area. Some areas are still restricted because of it. For example: serving in direct combat capacities such as armor, infantry, and special forces-branches from which much of the senior leadership is drawn. "In 1994, the annual Navywide Personnel Survey included questions on women's role for the first time. Some 65 percent of officers and almost 50 percent of enlisted respondents said they did not think women were fully accepted in combat roles. While approximately 80 percent said harassment was not tolerated at their command, almost half of all respondents disagreed that everyone is treated equally in promotions and advancements."(2) Some of this is bases on the presumed physical and psychological characteristics of women which may interfere with their performances of some military jobs. For example: the physical strength of women. People believe that women are not strong enough to lift and carry heavy equipment or wounded fellow soldiers and that we lack endurance to perform these tasks over a lengthened period of time. Also, there is the idea that women can not perform strenuous tasks quickly, like loading heavy shells into a weapon. And combat is not for the weak and slow.

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