Do you hear that? It’s the sound of scandal simmering slowly on the stove and from the latest update on the sex scandal at Lackland AFB, the pot may be ready to boil over.
I think we’re all pretty thick skinned by now when it comes to sex stories in the military. But this one is a doozy because we’re not talking about professional women who have been in the military, know their rights and have the moxy to tell a guy to get his hand off her ass or risk losing his arm. We’re talking about recruits.
These are young women who are insanely vulnerable at this entry point into the Air Force, and see their training cadre as the ultimate authority on everything. From what to wear to how high to jump, the culture of basic training is you do what your instructors tell you no questions asked. That makes these accusations even more disturbing. To abuse power like that in order to take advantage of someone who is for all intensive purposes, helpless to resist, is vile.
Now, as a PAO I know first reports are often inaccurate, but this has been slowly coming out for a while now. And, given the sheer number of women–31 so far–I’d say there is a good chance we’re about to hear a lot more disturbing stories. I hope folks will go beyond the sensational and look at what needs to be done to ensure this doesn’t happen again. At the risk of sounding like a flag waving feminist, I think the answer is to increase the number of female instructors.
The presence of females in an authoritative role will provide the peer guidance and hopefully deterrence to anyone on the prowl. It will also give female recruits reinforcement that there are other women there in leadership roles and they will not tolerate their male colleagues arranging quickies in the broom closet with female students.
We’ll stay tuned on this one but suffice it to say this story earns an epic eye roll and major head shake from me.