The U.S. Air Force has begun a sweep of all work places, public areas, guidebooks, and publications, looking to discover and remove any materials, images, or messages which objectify and demean women, 1200 WOAI news has learned.
The order comes directly from Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welch, who promised Sen. John Cornyn during his confirmation process that he would move with all deliberate speed to deal with the Lackland military training sex with recruits scandal, and address complaints of Air Force women like Jennifer Norris, who tell 1200 WOAI news that they were sexually harassed and even sexually assaulted while in the Air Force and were forced to shut up and even leave the service.
"I not only lost my job because I was raped by someone in the military, three out of the four perpetrators were given full military benefits," Norris told 1200 WOAI news.
A complaint filed in September claims that there is a climate of sexual abuse and sexual assault which is allowed to exist in the Air Force, and cited as evidence bawdy songs sung by flight crews, training manuals which include pictures of scantily clad or naked women including 'instructions,' and other items which the complaint says are designed to create a hazardous work environment for women airmen.
Norris says older pilots and male Air Force personnel are angry that almost all jobs in the Air Force have been opened to women.
"I think politicians want women in the military," she said. "I don't think the military structure itself wants women in the military."
Welsh said materials that 'objectify or demean' women have no place in the a professional workplace. He gave all Air Force commanders until December 17th to finish the sweep. He stressed that the order does not extend to person lockers, barracks rooms, or personal computers or e-mail accounts of Air Force members.
Welsh says the Air Force expects more than 700 cases of sexual assault this year, 100 more than in 2011.
The order comes as a ninth Lackland Military Training Instructor, Staff Sergeant Ryan Deraas, has been referred to court martial for having inappropriate relationships with female trainees. Five MTI's have been convicted, 9 charged, and 10 remain under investigation. One other MTI was given a non-judicial Article 15 punishment.
Deraas is accused of engaging in unprofessional relationships with five technical training students, committing willful dereliction of duty by maltreating trainees, and committing asaut and battery on two trainees.