By Lee and Moawad
Saturday, June 23, 2007
The U.S. Naval Academy's new installment of a four-year sexual harassment awareness program for the incoming class of 2011 signals a change in how the institution handles sexual harassment cases involving its students, CNN reported June 21.
"That's been shown to make a difference, so they are starting to experiment, so I'm optimistic on that level," said Debby Tucker of the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence. Tucker added that she hopes the program, which includes peer training, will do more to make the seriousness of sexual harassment clear to students.
Supporters of the program say the institution is seriously addressing recent harassment cases--which include a former medical officer taping students having sex and the conviction of two athletes in sex-related incidents in April--and historic incidents, such as the handcuffing of a female student to a urinal in 1990.
The academy first admitted women 30 years ago; they are now 20 percent of the student body. Last year, Capt. Margaret Klein was appointed the first female commandant of the academy, which makes her second in command at the institution.
Female students and recent graduates at the academy have noticed that, along with institutional changes, the overall atmosphere among students has been one of more respect, communication and sensitivity.
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The Bush administration is countering widespread critiques of abstinence-only sex education with a negative report on comprehensive education programs, the Washington Post reported June 21.
The 40-page report from the Department of Health and Human Services concluded that nine popular sex education curricula used by schools contained inaccurate facts about condoms--for example, not mentioning that effectiveness depends on correct usage--and did not mention abstinence as an alternative to intercourse frequently enough.
The $77,000 study was conducted by two nonprofit groups--the Medical Institute for Sexual Health in Austin, Texas, and the Sagamore Institute for Policy Research in Indianapolis--that promote abstinence and lifelong monogamous relationships, the Post reported.
A congressional report released in April found that abstinence-only curricula do not significantly dissuade teens from having sex nor does they increase condom use.