For broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 7 July 2013.
Revelations that soldiers collected and distributed offensive materials demeaning women has shaken the Australian Defence Force, coming on the back of a judicial inquiry into widespread sexual abuse across the ADF.
Writing in Online Opinion, former soldier Mike Bird says most ADF personnel are decent, fair-minded people, but ingraining into young men a strong sense of self-confidence, and cultivating aggression and a competitive edge, does encourage misogyny.
Posting anti-harassment rules and attending seminars has not fixed the problem. What the ADF needs, says Mike Bird, is to recover a modern version of chivalry, a code of conduct ensuring the welfare of those entrusted to our protection.
He says, “A sense of chivalry is what may well separate us from those we go to war against. If we do not do in war what we cannot live with in peace, neither should we do at home what we would never do in war.”
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.