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Army Investigation Reports Widespread Abuse of Women

In a report highly critical of Army officers, an internal investigative panel of senior officials declared in a report released yesterday that “passive leadership has allowed sexual harassment to persist” and that the Army “lacks the institutional commitment” to treat women equally.

Rep. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the reports were “a scathing indictment of the climate and leadership that permits sexual harassment to permeate at all levels of the Army.”

The panel recommended 128 actions to help resolve the problems, such as adding more staff to basic training and changing the power structure that allows combat arms personnel (an area forbidden to women, and where men have the least experience dealing with sexual harassment issues) to hold key command positions.

The comprehensive investigation was launched eight months ago after the sexual harassment and assault charges against officers at Aberdeen training grounds. The panel visited 59 Army facilities around the world and surveyed 30,000 troops about their experiences and attitudes about gender relations. A surprising finding was that while 84% of women had experienced unwanted sexual attention, coercion or assault, only 22% said they’d been sexually harassed. 51% of women felt they experienced sex-based job discrimination.

Sources:

The Washington Post - September 12, 1997

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