I’ve gotten a couple of very interesting letters in response to my post on the Air Force Academy rape scandal. One, from an honorably discharged female veteran, looks back fondly on the days when Navy basic training had separate barracks for men and women. This veteran said the system worked, and that female recruits under the new integrated living (and showering) system were often uncomfortable. After experiencing segregated basic training, she would not enlist in today’s radically integrated military.
Another letter says that the real problem at the Air Force Academy isn’t coed dorms, it’s fraternization between upper classmen and “doolie” (i.e. freshmen–freshperson?) cadets. Upper classmen have power over doolies, and close friendships between doolies of any sex and upper classmen is considered improper fraternization. But obviously, ties between upper class men and doolie women are something else again. The power of older and higher ranking men over younger doolie women is sexually explosive, and distorts the possibility of real consent. This strikes me as yet another reason why the military cannot and should not be expected to work on the same sexually integrated basis that civilian life now does.