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Reproductive Rights

Amy,

I am a female Lieutenant in the army. I live and work with approximately 450 other soldiers; men and women, privates through Lt. Colonel. There are only about 60 women that contribute to our population of 450. I am attempting to create monthly discussion groups for these women. I am trying to draw as much information on various topics as possible.

Our biggest issue is sex... unprotected sex with multiple men, sex with the wrong men (rank issues... remember this is the military), pregnancy among our younger girls (some of them can't even pinpoint the father).

I understand the men are just as much at fault, but I have my time and opportunity with the women. How do I teach them consequences, and decision making when it comes to self-respect for their mind and body, the ability to say no, etc...? I know that they are young and that is why I am trying to take this approach before older more military focused people in this unit decide to take UCMJ measures on these girls. I appreciate whatever advice you can offer. It helps to hear some non-army advice.

Danielle

   

Danielle --

I have recently had several conversations with many people about the current state of abortion, teen pregnancy, abuse, etc... and the consensus seems to be that it all comes back to our views on sex.

Because we don't have a way to talk about sex positively we get into these predicaments or because we don't have a way of explore pleasure, etc... we continue to be more passive in sex and that is the root of our sexual health problems. I'm not sure that it is that simple, but I think it makes sense. If I were you I would try approaching it this way -- rather than a more defensive root -- or by looking at it through potential solutions rather than just the problems.

I think that also just providing a space for people to talk is enough -- sometimes the less structure the best -- the poignant things can emerge through indirect conversation. What I often propose is just having a "girls" dinner party or something like that. I hope those suggestions help. Of course, there are also more direct resources, too -- mostly available through Planned Parenthood, etc....

Good luck and if you can, please let me know what you decide upon.

-- Amy