clear
Tuesday May 24th, 2016 12:06PM

Report: Sexism part of military academies' culture

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Students at the U.S. military academies often believe they have to put up with sexist and offensive behavior, a Pentagon report finds, reflecting a culture of disrespect that permeates the schools and their sports teams and fuels reports of sexual harassment and assaults.

The report points to scandals involving sports teams at all three academies during the last school year as examples of the problems. It urges leaders to do more to improve training and prevention programs.

Set for release Friday, the annual report on sexual assaults at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in New York, the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., identifies sports and club teams as an area where they need to expand training. The report was obtained by The Associated Press ahead of its release.

Military officials say they are working on ways to encourage students to take action when they see or hear of sexual assault or harassment.

Overall, reported sexual assaults at the academies were down, from 80 to 70, during the school year that ended last May. Of those, almost two-thirds were at the Air Force Academy.

The report also notes that alcohol is often a factor in sexual assaults, and it urges military leaders to do more to restrict and monitor drinking and liquor sales.

Athletes and sports teams came under increased scrutiny in light of separate harassment and assault incidents at all three schools.

At the Naval Academy, three members of the football team faced accusations in a complicated sexual assault case involving a female student at an off-campus party. Charges were dropped against one team member and may be dropped against another. The third is still scheduled for trial.

At West Point, the men's rugby team was temporarily disbanded, and more than a dozen seniors were demoted and faced other punishment and restrictions, after emails that were derogatory to women came to light. And there was a similar problem with sports team members at the Air Force Academy circulating a document that disparaged women.

Defense officials said Thursday that students' view crude behavior and harassment as an almost accepted experience at the academies and that victims feel peer pressure not to report incidents. So the schools are being encouraged to beef up training, particularly among student leaders, to recognize and feel empowered to report or step in when they see unacceptable behavior.

Both the Army and Navy targeted sports team captains and are using field trips to Gettysburg, Pa., to talk to them about leadership and the need to combat sexual harassment and assault within their ranks.

Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen Jr., the superintendent at West Point, said Thursday that the rugby scandal revealed a bad subculture that had existed for years.

"There were people within the organization that became desensitized to the degradation of respect," Caslen said in an AP interview. "But there were also people in the organization that recognized it as being wrong and elected not to do anything."

The challenge, he said, is finding ways to train and encourage cadets to have the moral courage to stand up and report such conduct when they see it.

At a meeting with West Point students this week, Caslen said, he talked at length about the rugby team, the punishments that were doled out and what the members learned as the team gets ready to start competing again in the spring. The punishments, he said, not only took away their ability to compete for a time, but also focused on a semester of rehabilitation.

At the end of the meeting, he said, classmates applauded team members for going through the extensive rehabilitation, which including community service work, public discussions of what they did and their remorse, and other programs.

"This is all about leadership," Caslen said. "Every one of these men and women are going to be in charge of organizations that are mixed gender, and they're going to be responsible for the command climate of their organization."
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 1 year ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 1 year ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 1 year ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Amid shouts of 'shame,' House GOP defeats gay rights measure
Democrats shouted "shame," but House Republicans switched their votes and defeated a measure to protect gay rights
8:03PM ( 4 days ago )
CDC director Freiden warns GOP Zika bill is inadequate
The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Wednesday that a House GOP measure to combat the Zika virus is inadequate to deal with the swelling threat to public health
7:36PM ( 5 days ago )
Trump unveils list of his top picks for Supreme Court
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, released Wednesday a list of 11 potential Supreme Court justices he plans to vet to fill the seat of late Justice Antonin Scalia if he's elected to the White House.
3:31PM ( 5 days ago )
1st US penis transplant could bring hope to maimed soldiers
A 64-year-old cancer patient has received the nation's first penis transplant, a groundbreaking operation that may also help U.S. veterans maimed by roadside bombs
8:04PM ( 1 week ago )
States dig in against directive on transgender bathroom use
Politicians in Texas, Arkansas and elsewhere are vowing defiance over the Obama administration's new directive on transgender bathroom use
9:19PM ( 1 week ago )