During the past 10 years, the roles women play in the military have changed. More than 200,000 women have served in the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and many of them have found themselves in direct ground combat situations, despite a Pentagon policy that’s designed to prevent that from happening.
Former Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said, “I’d be hard pressed to say that any woman who serves in Afghanistan today or who’s served in Iraq over the last few years did so without facing the same risks of their male counterparts.” Despite the fact that women serve faithfully next to men, they face harassment, discrimination and bullying in higher numbers than their male counterparts.
All soldiers are treated somewhat roughly during their training – this is accepted as part of the training process. However, fellow soldiers and junior officers take matters into their own hands by organizing activities that are supposed to increase “team work” and “trust”. Women are targeted during these hazing activities and often do not report incidents for fear of being branded “weak” or “whiny”. ‘
Hazing, harassment and other transgressions against women have become commonplace. Bullying in the military is difficult to define, especially when rough treatment comes with the territory. However, bullying is defined as: Aggressive, Intimidating and Repeated. Bullying has been proven to have long-lasting traumatic effects, not only for children, but adults as well.
If you feel you are being bullied, or you hear of or see an incident, stand up and speak out. Women do have a strong voice. We have to stand together and use it to change the world.
Shining Service Worldwide is a charitable organization that supports all women who are part of the military family.