Good morning,

I am a recruiter in Eugene and have a quick question for you. I have read your handouts and was wondering if you could provide a pamphlet that also compares the treatment of ladies in colleges and major universities. I am not trying to start a fight or provoke any confrontation but, I believe you have the right to free speech. Ok, I would like to hear back and see if you have any input on this. Thank you for your time.

(Name Redacted)
RSS Eugene
Office (541) 343-9955

Hi (Name Redacted),

Thanks for contacting CALC about your question about how Truth In Recruiting deals with sexual assault in the military.  I know as you point out that there is sexual assault on & around college and other school campuses, and sometimes the administration of those institutions responds very disrespectfully further injuring the victim.  The problem is as bad for female farmworkers as well.

There are some clear differences though that we address with regard to the military.  Reporting assault must be done through a commander only in the military.  Victims cannot choose to leave in the military, only the military gets to decide if they can leave.  The military has a long standing culture of denigrating females.  The extent of the problem is absolutely amazing.  The military has a long track record of further injuring victims in the way they have mis-handled victims who try to report.

I do read all the reports I can find about how the military is trying to change.  I note that there are occasional reports pointing to improvement, but I am also aware that repeatedly reports of improvement are too often followed by yet another jaw dropping report of grossly inappropriate conduct often by people in charge of stopping sexual assault.  I do understand that some in the military finally “get” that there is a problem that can no longer be swept away by vows to improve.  That is an improvement, but until I hear repeated and substantial reports of real change, I stand by our brochure and I stand by pointing out the problem in the military.

It is interesting—and important—to me that the military managed significant cultural change in decreasing racism and more recently homophobia, but it cannot manage a similar change with regard to women.  And of course I realize that not all military members are sexual perpetrators, but victims have no control over who they work with nor who their commanding officer is, the military being a command structure.

Finally I would point out that , toward our commitment that any female who is considering enlisting in the military is fully informed about the “down side” as well as the “upside” of military life.

Thanks for contacting us and sharing your concerns.  I would welcome a chance to talk further about this if you want.

Carol Van Houten
Coordinator, Truth In Recruiting
Community Alliance of Lane County
458 Blair Boulevard
Eugene, OR 97402