y and m onlinea monthly newsletter about youth, war, and peaceeye
next story
Inside the News

Sexual Harassment in the Military
No end in sight
No real efforts at change

by Kathy Gilberd 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

AT A GLANCE: Sexual Harassment in the Military

  • Despite increased attention and efforts to address sexual violence, more than half of military women still report being sexually harassed. Civilian women are also affected.

  • Sexism and sexual violence are deeply rooted in military training, motivational technique, and culture.

  • Backlash against women's inclusion in the military has meant further violence and negative attitudes towards them.
ask us!Resource of the Month

Want to print this story?
Use this version.

In December of 1999, an Army drill sergeant was court-martialed for fondling or sexually harassing 20 female recruits in his command. A month later, six sailors were punished for "hazing" a female sailor by taping her to a chair and photographing her. Just a few months ago, the Army’s highest-ranking woman, a general, reported that she had been grabbed and kissed against her will by a male general several years before.

In July of 2000, a US Marine in Okinawa was arrested for molesting a 14-year-old girl. He had entered her home at night, climbed on top of her in her bed, and began kissing her. Fortunately, her mother was able to summon help. The assault caused outrage among Okinawans, building on anger following a 1995 incident in which three servicemembers raped a 12-year-old Okinawan girl. And in Europe, an Army staff sergeant was sentenced to life in prison after raping and murdering an 11-year-old girl in Kosovo.

The military has taught men that violence, sexual and otherwise, is an appropriate way to show anger towards women.

Until the 1990s, sexual harassment was virtually a military secret. It wasn’t until the Tailhook scandal (in which a number of Navy officers harassed and physically abused civilian women and female officers during drunken parties at an annual fighter pilots’ convention) and Congressional hearings on assaults and rapes of female soldiers during the Gulf War that the general public discovered the extent of harassment within the military. The military responded with promises of training programs about sexual harassment, swift prosecution of harassers, and the creation of a safe environment for military women.

Learn more...
US Troops in Okinawa

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 continued
spacerabout ussite mapFAQscontact uswhat's newhomeAFSC home

issues | activism | resources | media | news
ask us | veterans day reflections | sexual harassment in the military | resource of the month
about us | site map | FAQs | contact us | what's new | Y&M home | AFSC home

© American Friends Service Committee · National Youth & Militarism Program 1998, 1999, 2000.