The Manhattan Mercury on Sunday, March 12, published a Dallas Morning News editorial regarding military harassment. It expressed shock at a “secret online forum called Marines United to share offensive images and comments about female service members, glorify sexual violence and threaten violent reprisals against the journalist and Purple Heart recipient who reported the misconduct.” The tone of the editorial was a condemnation of the military for allowing such actions. What the editorial did not mention is that the Army is conducting a related investigation. How shocking!
To think that our military services would allow such actions is beyond belief. But wait, maybe it is not so unbelievable. When one considers the state of our society in general, it would be more surprising if young people today were not involved with viewing porn, making obscene comments and encouraging sexual violence.
According to Barna Research Group, a recent study showed that 57 percent of young adults (ages 18 to 24) viewed porn at least once or twice a month, with 38 percent viewing it weekly or daily. The survey said, “Only one-third (32 percent) of 13 to 24-year-olds believes viewing pornographic images is always or usually wrong, compared to more than half of older adults (54 percent).” These statistics present a disturbing trend in our progressive society.
How do we account for the increasing problems related to sex violence in the military? We need to recognize that this is not just the fault of the military. Most young marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen come from civilian homes. They are not the product of a military upbringing. They were not suddenly “hatched in khaki.” They were raised by civilian parents, attended public schools and hung out with civilian friends. The problem is not the military culture, it is the American culture.
When we watch TV, we see commercials promoting Cialis and Viagra. We see ads using women clad in panties and bras. On any given night, there are feature-length movies with nudity, violence and sexual violence as the key features! We have become a society saturated with sex and violence. Do we really wonder why this problem exists in the military? Are we truly shocked that our young military people would engage in such activities
when the same things are going on in the broader segment of society as well?
We need to open our eyes to the fact that we, the American public, are as much to blame for “military harassment” as the military. So how do we cure the problem? To start with, we must understand that such action is not spontaneous. It begins with what we have been taught and by what we see and hear. We do not just wake up one morning and decide to take a compromising picture of another person and post it on the Internet. We think about such an action before we undertake it. If we want to prevent this, we need to eliminate sexually explicit commercials, shut down pornographic websites and raise awareness of the problems associated with the progressive sexual mentality in our country. There is a saying in information technology: “Garbage in — Garbage out.”
We need to put the focus for a healthy sexual mentality back in the home and the family. Too often we expect our children to be taught appropriate behavior at school, not at home. Where there is a home with a mother and father who have a healthy sexual mentality, you will more often find children with a healthy sexual mentality. In the 1960s and ’70s, it was not uncommon for judges to tell juvenile offenders, “You have two choices: the Army or jail!” They left it up to the military to change the behavior of a young man who learned his behavior in the 18, 19 or 20 previous years.
We can agree that what is going on in the military services regarding the sexual abuse is an abomination, that it must be stopped and those involved punished — regardless of rank. We must also acknowledge that it is not only the military’s problem. We all need to ask ourselves, “What am I teaching my children?” Only if we change the attitude of society can we expect to change the actions in the military.
Bill Shea, 3212 Cloud Circle, is a retired major in the U. S. Army .
“They are not the product of a military upbringing. They were not suddenly ‘hatched in khaki.’ They were raised by civilian parents, attended public schools and hung out with civilian friends.”