Defense officials said Thursday that students’ view crude behavior and harassment as an almost accepted experience at the academies and that victims feel peer pressure not to report incidents. So the schools are being encouraged to beef up training, particularly among student leaders, to recognize and feel empowered to report or step in when they see unacceptable behavior.
Both the Army and Navy targeted sports team captains and are using field trips to Gettysburg, Pa., to talk to them about leadership and the need to combat sexual harassment and assault within their ranks.
Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen Jr., the superintendent at West Point, said Thursday that the rugby scandal revealed a bad subculture that had existed for years.
“There were people within the organization that became desensitized to the degradation of respect,” Caslen said in an AP interview. “But there were also people in the organization that recognized it as being wrong and elected not to do anything.”