At lunch the other day a friend commented on a film she’d seen, The Invisible War. It had won an award at the Sun Dance Film Festival and the subject was rape in the military, largely offenses against women but a few cases of assaults on males were documented as well. While it’s common knowledge that these offenses occur, what shocked my friend was the indifference registered by the military’s bureaucracy. During the film one official is reported to have remarked that rape was a risk of being in uniform.
Rape may be an outcome when one is captured by the enemy, but one doesn’t expect violence at the hands of colleagues. Leon Panetta, Secretary of Defense, doesn’t seem to think so either as he’s called for new procedures to right the wrong. The question is will the new procedures be effective. Some doubt their success, but others express relief that the problem is being acknowledged.
Unfortunately, conditions in the military mirror those in the civilian world. David Streitfeld writes in The New York Times about a court case that is electrifying Silicon Valley. Elle Pao, a junior partner in a venture capital firm has filed a sexual-harassment suit against her colleagues, a protest previously unheard in this male dominated collective. (Re-reported in The Week, 7/15, 2012, pg. 36). What comes as a surprise are the women who rush to defend the bad boys. For example, Amity Shales of Bloomberg.com writes:
The atmosphere in tech and venture capital companies is by its nature a bit wild and ‘creative rebels have often behaved poorly.’ That’s the price we pay for innovation. ‘This isn’t to say that sexism or sexual harassment is acceptable. But showcase litigation makes tech firms more cautious and ‘work against women who want to be entrepreneurs.’ (Ibid, pg. 36)
Shales’ defense of the status quo demeans her and our society. We should expect better of our leaders. If she’s ready to justify bad behavior as the price for creativity, innovation and profit, then it must follow she’d champion the return of slavery for the same reasons.
(Courtesy of surveymagnet.com)