Across the entire force, only two sailors reportedly had their warfare pins tacked onto their flesh in the past year — one of the many signs that Navy officials have turned a corner in their fight against hazing.
The dangerous or demeaning initiation rites and verbal dressings-down that have been part and parcel of military life are steadily becoming a thing of the past, according to the Navy officials who oversee the effort to stamp out hazing.
But many veterans and current sailors question whether Shellback navy definition of sexual harassment service has gone too soft. The Navy is a professional organization and sailors are expected to uphold that standards, said the leader of the Navy's anti-hazing effort. The 21st Century Sailor office took in 48 37 complaints of hazing from April to Juneof which 28 were confirmed as hazing, according to official data compiled by their office.
The findings on four cases are still pending. The latest tally features fewer incidents involving violence, but hazing remains underreported and is still defended in many quarters of the service.
The reports run the gamut from practical jokes to physical assault and rituals like tacking on submarine warfare devices and "good-humored restraint," as the Navy describes it, as a division send-off. When you think of hazing, you probably think of those cultural rituals, like throwing a chief-select overboard or a punch in the crows after you make petty officer.
But the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines hazing as the practice of playing unpleasant tricks on someone or forcing someone to do unpleasant things, and that's where the Navy makes it ' s distinction. Joe Keiley, a Shellback navy definition of sexual harassment for the chief of naval personnel 's office.
That can also includes verbal abuse, which played a part in seven of the past year's complaints. Five of them were found to be hazing. Some Navy Times readers who responded to a call-out for opinions on hazing thought that political correctness and sensitivity were broadening expanding the definition of hazing, but Hardison said it's better to be safe than sorry — sailors should report anything that gives them pause.
One sailor was reportedly hazed by having his hands and feet bound with zip ties, while another tied was placed loosely around his neck.
The victim's perception is key in making the decision, said Keiley, but that's not the only factor. Being a willing participant doesn't mean that you weren't hazed. For example, a February complaint alleged that an E-1 was taped to a bed by a fellow student, with consent. An E-3 reported the incident, in line with the Navy's definition of a hazing event.
The training focuses on not only on what hazing is, but what to do about it when you see it.
Numbers of reports have held steady for the past three years, but Hardison confirmed that her office believes it's closing the gap between number hazing incidents occurring and the number that are reported. The flip side of the hazing debate, for many, is the dearly held rites of passage that many see as essential to their experience as sailors. That ritual is barred heavily discouraged now, but the Navy receives complaints about it every year.
Others have strong feelings about the Crossing the Line ceremonies, typically marked by a day where wogs are initiated into the order of the shellback during a day of nastiness, which nonetheless has been greatly toned down in recent years to address concerns about abuse and degradation. Though new sailors are now coming up in a Navy with a different attitude toward those traditions, some currently serving don't like the changes.
The Navy is pandering to over-sensitivity, he said.
Others agreed the service has been too sensitive. A female sailor was told to suck on a pacifier at work, which she did. The Navy is trying to stamp out demeaning behavior. But others see the good in cracking down.
A good-natured prank can go too far, one retired chief said. Kelley said he was proud to have survived his alcohol-fueled, borderline-sadistic chief initiation, but that he "would not wish that experience on anyone today.
Past Navy training has focused on what-not-to-do's, Hardison said, but her office is working on the roll-out of a new initiative called Chart the Course, which covers sexual assault, substance abuse and other misconduct issues. Meghann Myers is the senior reporter at Army Times. She covers personnel, fitness, the sergeant major of the Army and various other lifestyle issues affecting soldiers. For more newsletters click Shellback navy definition of sexual harassment.
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