Thursday, October 20, 2005
The Air Force Finally Has It Right
This morning I was pulled into yet another sexual harassment training session. I've been in the Air Force for over six years now, and every year I've been required to sit in a room and be tortured with a few hundred seriously boring slides on why sexual harassment and sexual assault is bad. Trust me, the lessons were always important, but I used to help teach this stuff back in school and the Air Force just didn't have a good way of doing it. Most folks typically dozed off or brought work with them. This morning's session was different. The Air Force finally has it right.
This morning I watched possibly the most outstanding, informative, and intelligent video on what sexual assault is, what it does to the victims, and how the Air Force is now dealing with victims and predators. The Air Force now focuses 90% of its energy on helping the victims first, and gives sole discretion to the victim whether or not to 'officially' report the assault or remain anonymous and simply receive proper treatment and help. In other words, each victim will get the maximum amount of care and treatment, and they will have the option of pursuing legal actions against their attacker.
From an Air Force online news article discussing this new policy, “The restricted reporting concept is a big change for us in the Air Force. We’ve learned that, in some cases, the survivor feels like they’re being victimized twice because they are not prepared for the exposure and attention they receive as part of prosecuting an investigation.”
Each Air Force Base will now employ a Sexual Assault Reporting Coordinator (SARC) who will be there to assist victims, and to train others to be on call for victims. The SARC will lead a special team to assist each victim with any medical, psychological, or other needs they may have. The SARC will also shield each victim's identity. The victim will have sole discretion as to whether or not they should report the criminal act. If they choose to report the crime, the SARC will protect the victim and assist them in the legal process.
It is easy to be critical of the Air Force. After all, it's a giant bureaucracy, and bureaucracies make big mistakes on a daily basis. Yet every now and then the Air Force gets things right, and this is one of those occasions. The Air Force finally acknowledged a long-standing problem within the ranks, developed an internal and external team to address the issue, and created this program based on the recommendations they received. The program will most likely be duplicated throughout the Department of Defense.
So today's training wasn't what I thought it would be. It was extremely educational, and has made me a better leader and Airman. Hopefully this new tactic will help eradicate this sad and frequent disease that plagues our military and our society.
It's an outstanding first step and should be applauded.
(August 05 Link to official press release on new policy and video)
posted by El Capitan at 11:37 AM
I haven't seen the new stuff yet-- one (huge) benefit of the Pentagon is that we're not subjected to these training sessions every month. Out at L.A. AFB it seemed like every other week, but here we get it maybe once a year.
Which, of course, makes it all that much funnier when some G.O. gets tagged for, um, tagging a subordinate. Guess they shoulda had their mandatory sexual assault awareness training, hmmm?
I'll have to check this stuff out-- if it met *your* cynical approval, it must be a major improvement.
That video was very interesting. Well done, actually. Of course, I have my own slanted opinions, though.
If you don't want to have sex with the dude, then DON'T GO HOME WITH HIM. It's like those girls that wear low cut blouses and tiny mini skirts and COMPLAIN that guys are staring at them. I think that taking ALL of the blame off the "victim" isn't the total way to go, but.... My whole thing is that if you don't want that OUTCOME, then don't put yourself in the POSITION. I don't mean to be cold, but I can't stand it when people don't take responsibility for their own actions or deny how much control over a situation someone might have.
Anyhow, it was good training, at any rate!