Pentagon introduces new anti-harassment policy

Li Jiayao

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Department of Defense on Thursday announced a new policy to tackle combat misconduct, bullying and any kind of harassment, such as offensive jokes, stereotyping, violence and discrimination, in the U.S. military.

The policy, which would take effect immediately, is an update to past policies on sexual harassment for service members, providing new procedures for various types of harassment prevention and response, said the Pentagon.

The move came amid a growing number of reports about sexual harassment cases in the U.S. military. An online nude-photo-sharing scandal last year, for example, rocked the Marine Corps.

U.S. military members who engage in harassment online or in the workplace face a permanent blot on their service record, the Pentagon said.

"The policy strengthens and reaffirms the department's position that it does not tolerate any kind of harassment by any service member, either in person or online," the Pentagon said in a statement.

The types of harassment included in the guideline are "offensive jokes, epithets, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, displays of offensive objects or imagery, stereotyping, intimidating acts, veiled threats of violence, threatening or provoking remarks, racial or other slurs, derogatory remarks about a person's accent, or displays of racially offensive symbols," the Pentagon said.

"Activities or actions undertaken for a proper military or governmental purpose, such as combat survival training, are not considered harassment," it added.

"This policy provides a formal, binding foundation to work from. But it's just the beginning," chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said.

"No one should be intimidated," she added.



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