Army to review decision to have male cadets wear high heels – The Washington Post

The photos above were taken at Temple University in Philadelphia. But a similar event at Arizona State University has generated controversy this week. An anonymous post on Reddit alleged that cadets there were required to participate, and would get a negative mark for not supporting the “sharp” mission, an Army acronym for the Army’s Sexual Harrassment/Assault Response & Prevention program.

The post has generated attention from a variety of conservative publications, including RedState (Headline: “Army forces ROTC cadets to wear high heels”) NewsMax (“ROTC Cadets required to Wear High Heels with Combat Uniform”) and The Washington Times (“Army ROTC program allegedly pressured cadets to walk in high heels for ASU event”).

A spokesman for U.S. Army Cadet Command, Lt. Col. Paul Haverstick, said ROTC units across the country were directed to participate in Sexual Assault Awareness Month events on their campuses “to help stamp out sexual assault on the campuses where they have a presence.” But Maj. Gen. Peggy C. Combs, the cadets’ commanding general, did not direct how the units would do so, and had other events as options, Haverstick said.

via Army to review decision to have male cadets wear high heels – The Washington Post.

You can click through to look at the pictures if you want. You’ve likely seen them by now.

This is errant stupidity from Cadet Command. “Raising Awareness” is just about the dumbest approach to virtually any problem. If someone on campus today isn’t aware of the frenzy surrounding so-called “rape culture” on campus, they aren’t going to be enlightened by this.

As someone in the comments at WaPo notes, this is little more than the modern analog of the Maoist self flagellation for not supporting the Cultural Revolution.

Does that mean Army ROTC shouldn’t support Sexual Assault Awareness Month? No. It shouldn’t be the prime focus of ROTC. Cadets have enough on their plates between earning their degrees and fulfilling their commitments to learning military arts and sciences.

But Army ROTC could have partnered with other organizations on campus. Army Sexual Harassment and Assault Reporting and Prevention Training (SHARP) is such a good deal that soldiers have to go through it on a recurring basis. Maybe ROTC could have invited interested groups and students to attend a SHARP class and see for themselves the Army view on best practices for reporting and prevention.  Or the ROTC could have hosted a train-the-trainer program for victims advocacy groups on how best to support victims of harassment and assault.

Cadet Command can spin this any way they want, but they come out of this looking stupid, maybe not so much on campus, but certainly with their end customers, the troop units of the Army itself.

12 thoughts on “Army to review decision to have male cadets wear high heels – The Washington Post”

  1. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this when I was writing. Cadets could give classes on Army combatives to help women defend themselves in the event they are attacked.

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    2. In fact, my ROTC unit did this. One of our NCOs would give combatives class and then the cadets would be tackling dummies for the sorority ladies. No shortage of volunteers. 🙂

  2. As the purpose of sexual assault awareness month is grant a psychotic minority the legal right to exercise unfettered power and control, AT THE EXPENSE OF GENUINE VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT, I would humbly suggest that the Army should not in fact support sexual assault awareness month.

  3. This decision has to be reviewed? FIRE them! All of the leaders in this apologetic action! The problem is it sparks animosity not awareness. “Hey, I got a great idea, let’s shame cadets in order to bring awareness, oh and if they won’t play along we will write them down the tubes!” Attention “leaders” retire and go home, you have forgotten how to lead!

    1. In another discussion on another forum, here’s what I had to say about options that *could* actually support SHARP. I’m not wild about spending time on SHARP, but if you’re going to do it, make it useful.
      Lauren thinks raising awareness regarding SAPR is analogous to DUI reduction. Which. let’s not kid ourselves, raiding DUI awareness didn’t drive down the stats, draconian punishment did.

      Lauren thinks because we object to stupid events such as this that we must automatically therefore not support the goals of SAPR.

      No, we object to stupid for the sake of stupid.

      I could think of a lot of ways to have an awareness raising event that would respect the dignity of all members of a command, and actually consist of real training.

      When is the last time your SAPR training didn’t simply consist of sitting through the same damn powerpoint. Has your command JAG come in and given your watchstanders a class, an actual practical exercise on reporting? Taking statement, walking through the actual steps and forms in the unit SOP?

      Have any commands looked at seeing of past victims of sexual assault would be willing to share their experiences on the process involved, and which agencies are available, which did well, which did poorly?

      Has your JAG or SAPR rep talked about what problems they’ve consistently run into in the successful prosecution of criminals, or the greatest hindrances in getting victims properly cared for?

      Has your training addressed issues of not just women in the service, but also dependents and other civilians closely associated with your command? Were families invited to training?

      No, let’s just do something highly visible, but with no obvious return on investment.

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