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NCJ Number: 228872 Find in a Library
Title: Manifestations of Power and Control: Training as the Catalyst for Scandal at the United States Air Force Academy
Journal: Violence Against Women  Volume:15  Issue:10  Dated:October 2009  Pages:1149-1168
Author(s): Jamie L. Callahan
Date Published: October 2009
Page Count: 20
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In analyzing the sexual assault scandal at the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA), this article examines the role of training practices in perpetuating power and control issues at the (USAFA), along with the potential consequences of these practices.
Abstract: Reports of alleged sexual assaults of female cadets by male cadets at the USAFA appeared in national and international media early in 2003. Allegations of assaults, coverups, investigations, and corrective actions by the USAF continued in the news throughout 2003 and even into the summer of 2005. Another scandal at the USAFA, albeit latent and unpublicized, is the rate of eating disorders among female cadets. The author of this article, who is a female graduate of the USAFA, suggests that the hegemonic masculinities that led to the scandal are created by the interplay of both system and structure at the USAFA. Specifically, the alleged sexual assault and eating disorder problems experienced at the USAFA originated in cadet training practices that deprive individuals of personal control over themselves and their environment. The USAFA training practices aim to render new cadets powerless in a process of stripping individuals’ old identities to remold them in the image of an elite USAF officer. This deprivation of power or control causes some cadets to develop coping behaviors and social contexts in which they can exert control and personal power. This article offers an interpretation of the alleged sexual assault and eating disorders as gendered dysfunctional behaviors in response to power deprivation in cadet basic training. Giddens’ “structuration” theory is offered as the basis for this dysfunctional social system created by the USAFA’s training subculture. This article suggests that this theory could be tested by identifying those who have experienced such dysfunctional behaviors and then analyzing their locus of control. 1 table and 62 references
Main Term(s): Female victims
Index Term(s): Eating disorders; Military crime; Sex offense causes; Sexual assault victims; Sexual behavior; Social conditions; US Air Force
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