Sexual Assault: The Dark Side of Military Hypermasculinity
AIR WAR COLLEGE, AIR UNIVERSITY MAXWELL AFB United States
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Tailhook 91 exposed the U.S. Navy and the Defense Department gender integration and sexual assault problems. As a result, the Armed Forces instituted and revamped sensitivity, sexual harassment, and equal opportunity education and training programs and increased more combat roles to women. To provide additional oversight and management of sexual assaults, in 2005 the Defense Department established the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. Despite their best efforts, sexual assaults continue to occur throughout the Armed Forces and hinder mission effectiveness and unit cohesion. In an effort to understand and explain sexual assaults, this paper focuses on the role a patriarchal society plays in developing and fostering a military hyper masculinity culture. It also examines military hyper masculinity behavior and its link to physical, sexual aggression and assaults, resulting from contradictory feelings of fear and desire for women, a perceived existential threat or challenge to ones manhood, and the endorsement and validation of stereotypical military hyper masculinity behavior within units. This paper includes five recommendations to combat the damaging and destructive effects of sexual assault 1 mow the grass, or provide continued leadership vigilance and avoid complacency, 2 know thyself, or provide personality, emotional, and hyper masculinity testing for self-awareness of triggers and dark-side traits, 3 conduct more research and analysis for targeted training, 4 empower the next generation of leaders for solution set, and 5 strategic messaging.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations