Fundamental Culture Shift

Hello, Friends.

Well – everyone is talking about The Invisible War and I can’t be happier about that!  In the past I have talked about solutions to the problem.  I would like to say that this is “easy” to fix – but anyone who has served in the military knows that change comes slowly.  In fact, when I went to basic training in the 80’s…my mess kit was manufactured in the 1940’s!  No, change doesn’t come swiftly.

The unfortunate reality is that we need to have a fundamental shift in culture – not just in the military, either.  I have a daughter and it terrifies me…the things I see on TV and in music.  The books she reads.  The internet she has access to.  The way that women are portrayed and talked about.  I am no longer her “mother” – her primary female influences (mothers) are people like Katy Perry, Bella from Twilight and Snooki from Jersey Shore.  They are the one’s that tell her what a woman should be like.  Even if I restricted all access to these things, it would do no good, because her peers and her teachers get to spend more time with her than I do.  All you can do is mitigate the damage to the best of your ability – try to teach her that she doesn’t have to look like a $5.00 hooker to be beautiful.  Teach her that her value is in being an amazing person on the inside – not worried about wearing the right eye shadow.

It was the same for me as a teenager.  I zoned out when my mother tried to teach me to cook and sew and how to mop the floor in pearls and high heels.  I despised her “how to make your husband happy” lectures about dinner and housework and such.  Of course, she was a stay-at-home mom who put dinner on the table at 4:30 pm and ran Daddy hot baths.  She was a typical 50’s mom -even though it was the 70’s!  She wasn’t wrong – she was just a product of her culture.

The Invisible War points out that Company Commanders don’t want to contact their Battalion Commander to tell them that there has been an “incident.”  That sexual assault is viewed as a “failure of command.”  The film is right – that is exactly how it is viewed.  When “bad” things happen – no Commander wants that on their record.  The current culture says that good leaders don’t allow anything inappropriate to happen.  Unfortunately, this keeps the Commander from actually doing anything – let alone the right thing!  Company Commanders cannot control everything that happens within their units – neither can senior NCO’s.  The consequence of this “keep it in the company” mentality is that the Predator can Prey again!

We have to change the culture that surrounds rape.  The culture that accuses the victim and creates silence through shame.  The culture that says – “If you weren’t in the military – you wouldn’t have gotten raped.  What do you women expect?”  We have to change the culture that allows women to be viewed as second class citizens.

Change comes slowly – but if we don’t get “change” into the fast lane – our Nation will pay a hard price.  The only way to do this is to speak out – talk to everyone you can – make them understand.  If we don’t then we will be allowing the same repeating pattern of violence and hatred.  And that is unacceptable!





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