Commentary

April 26, 2013

Learned behavior must match Air Force standards

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. – Sexual assault and harassment are rightfully in the forefront of Defense Department and Air Force leadership concerns. Leaders speak continually about the damages sexual assault and harassment inflict upon Airmen, the unit and the mission. Their command emphasis helps highlight a problem endemic in our ranks.

At the end of the day, to combat this problem, all Airmen must look within themselves: their attitudes toward sex, the morals with which they were raised, learned gender roles and biases, as well as the lifetime consequences of their actions.

I have the privilege of working with a broad array of Airmen who have Air Force experience ranging from nine weeks to 40 years. These Airmen from all walks of life and age groups represent varying attitudes toward sex and what constitutes normal limits to pursuing sexual encounters.

What one has learned as an acceptable behavior or attitude is often at odds with the behaviors expected of our Airmen. It is not okay to grab and touch people, to be “huggy,” to make sexual innuendos toward someone or to discuss sexual preferences or activities in the workplace. It is time for all of us to grow up and realize we each bring a unique strength to the mission void of any sexual overtones.

The learned behaviors and attitudes such as “women/men are only good for one thing” are not appropriate and are harmful to the individuals subjected to these views, and to the organization as a whole. Additionally, it discounts the human worth of the person holding those views. Imagine believing a person is only put on earth to provide pleasure; it demeans all mankind. The Air Force is better than that; it must be. We owe our fellow Airmen the dignity and respect they earned by signing up to put their lives on the line for others, but also as fellow human beings.

Airmen, both male and female, must understand the laws that govern sexual assault and the often life-impacting consequences that can occur when failing to examine one’s attitudes and perceptions. Jail time and permanent labels of sexual offender or predator will follow them for the rest of their lives. Getting drunk or the perception that one is “just joking around” are not excuses for belittling or criminal behavior. The world is changing and we must change with it. The law is clear that consent must be given and by someone who is not incapacitated. Predatory behavior and forced sexual contact is wrong, illegal and particularly despicable when the victim is unable to give consent. These actions will not be tolerated and have no place in the Air Force or society at large. They destroy both the victims’ and perpetrators’ lives.

As leaders, supervisors and coworkers, we need to examine our reaction to hearing of sexual assault and harassment. Through my career I have heard, “He/she was just drunk or being silly;” They didn’t really mean anything;” and “Don’t ruin their lives.” We can no longer tolerate the attitude of “kids will be kids” or “they had a few drinks and didn’t know what they were doing.” Alcohol or immaturity is not a defense. Airmen must be held responsible for their actions, and if we do not confront this behavior it is reinforced and will continue.

I encourage each of you to take an introspective look at the sexual attitudes and expectations you have and compare them to the laws that govern sexual assault and harassment. Which side of the law and jail bars would you be on? One night can ruin your life, the victim’s and many others. At the end of the day, remember you joined the Air Force to serve, not to be part of the problem. This is a difficult issue – the changing of perceptions and attitudes of acceptable behavior. But it is paramount to the mission and the Airmen who have dedicated themselves in defense of our country that we succeed.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

My personal leadership philosophy

My personal leadership philosophy can be summed up in just a few words — people first, mission always. Some may mistake the phrase “people first, mission always” as a dictum to coddle unit personnel through adversity, but actually, my focus is on preparing them to overcome adversity. The mission will always press on, but without...
 
 

Work, family balance success marker

“Being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles.” — Zig Ziglar In our careers, we frequently hear about the importance of having balance in our life and job. Some common...
 
 
Staff Sgt. 
TIMOTHY BOYER

Luke plays role in saving species

Staff Sgt.TIMOTHY BOYER A team of wildlife specialists prepare a Sonoran pronghorn for release into the wild at the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in Ajo. Sixty-nine pronghorn were captured this year. Of those, more tha...
 

 

News Briefs December 19, 2014

Road closure Litchfield Road at Northern Parkway is closed daily 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Sunday to paint the bridge overpass, weather permitting. Northern Parkway will remain open. Reems Road and Dysart Road are alternate routes. For more information, call MCDOT at 480-350-9288. MLK luncheon There will be a Martin Luther King Jr. luncheon...
 
 
Senior Airman 
JAMES HENSLEY

MWD Roy — partner, friend passes

Senior AirmanJAMES HENSLEY Staff Sgt. Scott Emmick, 56th Security Forces Squadron Military Working Dog handler, and Roy, 56th SFS MWD, play Dec. 14, 2012, at the at Luke Air Force Base kennels. The MWD and handler team plays to...
 
 

46 graduate ALS in class 15-1

The 56th Fighter Wing Airman Leadership School graduated 45 senior airmen and one staff sergeant Dec. 11 from class 15-1. The graduates are senior airmen unless otherwise noted. John L. Levitow award: Nathaniel Gladney, 56th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Distinguished graduates: Matthew Goodspeed, 56th Operations Support Squadron; Russell Hires, 56th Medical Support Squadron; James Gilmore, 56t...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin