Naval Academy (finally) increases sexual harassment education.

The U.S. Naval Academy is hoping that a new sexual harassment program beginning next fall will not only quell the rash of harassment and assault at the school, but that it will improve their not-so-hot image.

The academy’s athletes have been accused of sexual misconduct, a former medical officer was charged with taping midshipmen having sex, a link was made between an instructor and a prostitution ring, and a group of midshipmen was blamed for raunchy behavior on a spring break cruise.
Critics say the academy is struggling to get recommendations aimed at addressing sexual harassment through to students in their late teens and early twenties.
Supporters, including women who graduated this spring, say the bad publicity indicates the academy is pushing forward to make changes at the 162-year-old institution.

Debby Tucker, executive director of the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence, says of the program, “[Peer training has] been shown to make a difference, so they are starting to experiment, so I’m optimistic on that level…There is stuff happening. I just think we all want it to happen faster.”
Women only make up 20 percent of the student body, and the academy has struggled with sexual harassment issues for more than 30 years.

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7 Comments

  1. Jeremy F.
    Posted June 22, 2007 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    You know there is something seriously wrong with our culture when people have to get mandatory education on how not to sexually harass others.
    What happened to common sense?

  2. Posted June 22, 2007 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Yeah good luck with that. I’m sure their new “program” will be just as stupid as all the other ones the military uses…the ones they make us sit through so they can say we sat through it. Nobody learns how to not sexually harass someone with those classes. They just think they’re funny.

  3. Posted June 22, 2007 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Go read the article I just wrote about, where a female Marine was raped by another Marine. She wants to get out of the military now because the incident “shamed” her, because of the way everyone else has treated her since. That’s how well the “programs” work.

  4. marymaryquitecontrary
    Posted June 22, 2007 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    what is with the passive voice in this article?
    “…athletes have been accused of sexual misconduct, a former medical officer was charged with taping midshipmen having sex, a link was made between an instructor and a prostitution ring, and a group of midshipmen was blamed for raunchy behavior…” it looks like the author is portraying the students as victims of allegations. have any of these charges been proven, or not? and if not, why not? without serious investigation of all complaints and consequences for harassment, what good is more training going to do? why would these privileged and protected students stop behaving horribly (doing what they should already know is wrong) if they can still get away with it?

  5. Posted June 22, 2007 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    The worst part is that these guys are the officers…the ones supposed to be setting the example…

  6. Ailea
    Posted June 22, 2007 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    The problem here isn’t so much that these women are going to a mostly male school. My college was about the same ratio my year – 1/5 female, and the only time I ever heard of anyone being physically messed with in any way was about a decade before I got there. A rape occurred, resulting in a frat being thrown off campus. So what’s the difference between my school and this one? One is a group of nerds and the other is a group of military personnel. It has to either be a difference in the type of people attracted there or in the type of behavior tolerated. I wonder if training people to be aggressive in their careers has that much affect on how aggressive they are towards other people. Can we change this behavior without addressing the underlying issues with how we train our military (or even raise our children) in general? Is a little program really expected to change what they are being taught everywhere else? I know that in theory, being aggressive should not necessarily mean that you cross boundaries with it, but at what point does your need for power or need to demonstrate power result in severely hurting the people around you?

  7. Posted June 22, 2007 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Ailea, I think you might be on to something. I remember reading in the wake of the Abu Grahib scandal that part of the problem was that people who weren’t trained in security were acting as security guards. We had members of the US military, trained to be aggressive, in a situation where that training was useless. Thus that aggression manifested in inappropriate ways.
    That may be what’s happening here: lots of aggression in one place and no one has been told that there are, in fact, inappropriate ways of showing that aggression.
    Of course, like Jeremy F. said in the first comment, the fact that such divisions need to be made explicit to people is seriously wrong.

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