January 30, 2015 12:54
The Army is scrambling to come up with a new code of behavior in response to a recent series of sex crimes in barracks.
"A top brass meeting held on Tuesday decided to work out a code of conduct to cope with sex crimes," an Army spokesman said Thursday. "It will be issued in the name of the Army chief of staff and violators will be subject to punishment under military law."
Male or female soldiers will be banned from visiting the quarters of soldiers of the opposite sex alone. Soldiers of different genders will only be allowed to shake hands with one hand.
Soldiers of different ranks will be prohibited from dating, and no soldier will be allowed to travel, or stay in the same office, alone with another of the opposite sex. When it is inevitable that they are alone in the same office, they must leave the door open.
"The code aims to change the culture of soldiers' everyday life to prevent sex crimes," the spokesman added.
The Army pledged to tighten controls after a female soldier was sexually harassed by the commander of the 17th Infantry Division last year. But it decided to act only after a recent sexual assault against a female officer by the commander of an Army brigade.
However, some officers have called the code of conduct myopic.
"A stricter code of conduct is no use unless we change barracks culture and the mindset of senior officers who consider female officers sexual objects instead of comrades-in-arms," a senior officer said. "No code of conduct can root out sex crimes."
Meanwhile, the Army on Tuesday started questioning female staff sergeants, the most vulnerable group, to find out whether they have been sexually harassed or assaulted.
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