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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 20, 1998

CNN "IMPACT" TO TACKLE "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT

ATLANTA - With the recent case of a Navy seaman facing discharge over his America Online profile, the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on homosexuality is once again in the spotlight. But there's a twist to the story that has rarely been told. The policy on gays serves as a ready weapon against military women. Those who reject the advances of a male superior run the risk of being investigated as lesbians.

"Impact," CNN's weekly news magazine, takes on the subject this Sunday, January 25. Correspondent Art Harris talks with women affected by the policy, and reveals internal military documents that show the Pentagon has long been aware of the threat.

"Time and time again," said Michelle Benecke of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, "when women report sexual abuse, they find that their commands respond, not by investigating the complaint of sexual abuse, but by investigating them, and their private lives."

Ask former Navy seaman Amy Barnes, who was brought up on charges of lesbianism - two weeks after rebuffing a male superior at an on-shore bar. Unlike others in her position, she fought back with a lawsuit. But it was too late to save her career.

Ask retired Air Force Captain Barbara Wilson, who served from 1949 to 1971. "When women first went in service," she said, "the adage was that only queers or prostitutes went in service. And I think that has just carried down from generation to generation."

Correspondent Art Harris, himself a former Navy lieutenant, j.g., offers an unflinching portrayal of sex and power in the U.S. military.

"Impact," hosted by Bernard Shaw and Stephen Frazier, is broadcast each Sunday at 10:00 p.m. Eastern time and again at 10:00 p.m. Pacific time, on CNN.

CONTACT:
Rick Perera
CNN Impact
(404) 827-2755 

 


 

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