Dear TJP members,
Amy Hagopian and I recently published in the American Journal of Public Health a commentary that compares military recruiting in high schools with predatory grooming. This has engendered a bit of interest from the military/right wing world, as well as from UW, and there may be a special forum held at UW in January to address some of the issues the commentary raises.
Many of the questions and comments we have received have to do with the nature of predatory grooming, and I've pasted in a couple of the radio shows we've been interviewed on, so you have an idea of the reaction to the paper. (I have also added a reference to a TJP blog entry I did, "Why soldiers in school are an injustice to all," which gives more background on the practice of recruiting in high schools.)
While we speculate on the similarities in the processes of grooming and military recruiting, and reference our rationale, deeper insight to support or contradict our speculation would be so appreciated. Our backgrounds are not in psychology or sociology, so any information on the process of grooming, for non-sexual as well as sexual exploitation, would be useful.
If anyone can suggest references and research material, persons to contact, or would like to be involved in the forum at UW, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is the abstract:
Should We End Military Recruiting in High Schools as a Matter of Child Protection and Public Health?
Amy Hagopian and Kathy Barker
Am J Public Health published 18 November 2010, 10.2105/AJPH.2009.183418
Copyright (c) 2010 by the American Public Health Association.
New American Journal of Public Health "First Look" articles have been made available (for the period 21 Oct 2010 to 18 Nov 2010):
Recruiters for the various US armed forces have free access to our nation’s high schools, as mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act. Military recruiter behaviors are disturbingly similar to predatory grooming.
Adults in the active military service are reported to experience increased mental health risks, including stress, substance abuse, and suicide, and the youngest soldiers consistently show the worst health effects, suggesting military service is associated with disproportionately poor health for this population.
We describe the actions of a high school parent teacher student association in Seattle, Washington, which sought to limit the aggressive recruitment of children younger than 18 years into the military.
(Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print November 18, 2010: e6–e10. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2009.183418)
For the full paper, click here. Go to the bottom of the page and hit "download."
Here are two radio interviews that show what is bothering some folks about this:
Amy Hagopian with Dori Munson on KIRO news radio
Kathy Barker with Frank Shiers on KIRO News radio
For previous TJP blog article on military counter-recruitment, click here.