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Military units need to start taking more responsibility for the training of their soldiers, rather than sitting back and making preventive rules that are unnecessary and/or sexually discriminatory.

For example, when walking to work during my last deployment, I was once asked what I was doing walking alone in the dark. That they asked me that as a soldier did not bother me, but that they followed up with "females aren’t supposed to be walking alone at night" did.

We are supposed to be treated as equals, and we have been through all of the same combative and self-defense training as the males in our unit. If someone doesn’t feel we are every bit as capable of keeping ourselves safe as the males in the unit, then that person should hold more self-defense classes for the entire unit until he or she’s more confident.

While many installations have strict battle buddy policies, I have yet to see one where it was strongly enforced with regard to men. It is very offensive to me that I can’t walk to work without a "where is your battle buddy?" or "hold up, let’s find you an escort," while on the way I’ve crossed several men walking alone who received no such comment.

I strongly believe that these practices are not because men are less likely to be assaulted, but because women have the potential to become pregnant if assaulted, and the unit worries that it might be inconvenienced by a pregnancy. It certainly reinforced the feeling that all the military sees me as is a potential pregnancy, rather than a soldier.

These practices are not only demoralizing to the females of the military, they are bad public relations waiting to happen. Please, leaders, take note.

Spc. Tamara D. MillerCamp Taji, Iraq


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