Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Outsiders can never know all the facts or all the emotional elements involved in any issue.  This may be particularly true when it comes to sexual crimes.  Nonetheless there is a reaction to the reports of increased sexual assaults in the U. S. military.  Some people have an "I told you so" attitude, while others agree that it is a problem that needs to be fixed by legal means.  My reaction is that this is negative for all of us.

During the negotiations to boost the role of women in the military there was a lot of strenuous objections.  Women will distract the men, men will have to cover for weaker women.   I do agree there will be an adjustment and we should all work towards moving forward.

American and western cultures have achieved a dominant position with a significant factor being our greater acceptance of the role of women.  Part of that is legal, but also the culture has been more liberal.  Women play more roles and are more prominent in decision making at higher levels.  To maintain an established standard of living more and more housewives work.  Women are increasingly more educated and although there might be a glass ceiling a few women are cracking through it.

Some cultures are very protective of their women, one might say possessive.  Rape laws were not originally implemented to  protect women, but rather to protect the interests of their fathers.  We are going through a series of transitions.  Not only are women gaining more power, but we live in a more sexually liberated era.  Some men seem to think that if a woman is dressed attractively, is acting independently or by herself in male company she is just "asking for it."  Women have proved themselves not only in the American military, but in many other forces as well and should not be intimidated from pursuing any vocation.

Legal enforcement needs to be tightened, but the real problem is culture.  Civil rights have been legislated and society has moved forward, but it is not too difficult to spot why they were and are necessary.  Gays are coming out of the closet and the rest of us are realizing it is not the end of the world and in fact they add value when we let them.  As we understand better a wider range of people and appreciate their contributions we all gain.

I had read about some Jewish men objecting to women singing as a sexual distraction.  A good hunk of the music I listen to include women vocalizing and realize many are playing musical instruments, composing and writing lyrics. They enrich everyone.

Women and men do come at things from a different perspective and as between any other two groups there is plenty of opportunity for misunderstandings.  We all have a tendency to think our views are right and don't always understand the other person might have their own reasons for seeing things differently.

What can be done?  Stronger legal enforcement will help restrict abuses and time will eventually allow military people to accept the benefits of including women.  Education can help, but if too forced will not be as effective as non threatening information.  Details do matter and implementation is critical.

As our civilization moves forward women will play an increasingly important role.  Everyone will benefit.  At least that is how I see it

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