When I did the page on sexual stress and the male police officer, I had no
intention of addressing the same subject regarding female police officers.
I learned a long time ago to keep my analysis of women's behavior, sexual
or otherwise, to myself whenever possible. However, fair is fair, and I
should make an effort to provide advice to women seriously considering a
police career since all things sexual have become of such interest, and a
real source of consequences.
When I began my police career, police commanders didn't want to know
anything about your domestic life, and they especially didn't want to hear
anything about sexual issues. When some things change, they change in a
big way. Today, the subject of sex is everywhere, and police departments
can't escape a reality that sometimes reaches absurd proportions.
As a female police officer, you'll be entering a work force where, on
average, you'll be outnumbered 9 to 1. While some women might find the
lopsided ratio appealing, others won't. It really doesn't matter which view
you take, because you'll be subjected to sexual stress either way. The only
difference will be in how and why that stress originates.
As long as you begin your career with the realization that you have no
immunity from being subjected to sources of sexual stress, you'll be way
ahead at protecting yourself from needless suffering. You might think
that all the sexual harassment laws will protect you from sexual stress.
Think again, because most male police officers don't even think about
sexual harassment issues; until, they're slammed in the face with an
allegation of sexual harassment. Further, when sexual stress is placed
into the context of sexual harassment, it simply results in additional stress.
You'll fall into one of two categories of female police officers. In the first
category are those women who become police officers, because they really
want to do police work. The second category will be comprised of women
who know men's weaknesses, and they will not hesitate in exploiting those
weaknesses. Since you're obviously in the first category, listen closely.
Police departments aren't any different from any other male dominated
work environment. Just as in any other line of work, you'll see women
exploit their sexuality from flirting -- to much more -- for favors and
advancement. Those sexually based professional relationships often result
in stress for everyone in the immediate work environment. When those
relationships sour, or become scandalous, the negative effects only
multiply along with the number of people affected.
While men could have much more positive control in limiting sexual
favoritism, that just simply isn't the reality. You might work for a
sergeant -- hopefully -- who won't tolerate any type, or even an
appearance, of sexual favoritism while your higher ranking unit or district
commander has never met a woman who couldn't manipulate him ten
You will see women receive favorable treatment and advancement through
their sexual manipulation of men. However, think about the stress
they're suffering from the knowledge that everybody knows how they're
obtaining the favors and advancement. Women who use sexual
manipulation will often justify their behavior through cynical self-delusion.
They'll convince themselves that they are qualified for better assignments
and advancement, but, just because they're women, they'll be denied their
deserved assignments and advancement. Therefore, sexual manipulation is
just something they have to practice.
You don't have to believe me, because you'll learn for yourself that women
who rely on their sexuality are rarely, if ever, qualified for assignments
and advancement derived through sexual relationships.
While those women will be subjected to the obvious stress generated from
the tenuous nature of such relationships, their behavior will be a source of
stress for their female co-workers as well.
The experts will tell you that you're entering a career rife with sexism.
Well...that just isn't so. It's easy to substitute sexism for the normal ways
things have been done and continue to be done. You've got to remember
that you're entering government where the concepts of quality and
competence are not immediately associated. You can be a police officer,
male or female, of exceptional quality and competence, and you'll learn
that those attributes won't, on their own, get you anywhere when it comes
to assignments and advancement.
In government, the politics and personal connections are the determining
factors. Here's where being female obviously becomes tricky. How do you
make those personal and political connections in a male dominated
environment without sex entering into the picture? It's obviously possible
since a lot of women manage to advance without becoming practitioners of
Police work does have unique aspects to sexual stress. You'll be dealing
regularly with a male criminal element that has no appreciation for
women. When a woman puts on a police uniform, that lack of appreciation
can become even more pronounced. You could frequently find yourself
enduring sexist comments and language that will initially cause you stress.
You'll simply have to train yourself to tune out the insults. If you don't,
the resulting stress will be of your own making.
Then there's the normal thing between men and women that often occurs
in the workplace. Yes...the work environment often creates legitimate
romantic relationships. Here's the only advice I can give you on this one.
If you're working together in an assignment where you're performing
actual police work like responding to calls and doing other dangerous
things, request that one of you be transferred to another assignment.
In police work, controlling your emotional responses to anything is a big
deal. Where intimate relationships are involved, danger to one will evoke
a strong emotional response from the other. When a police officer's
action(s) is controlled more by emotion than training, the result(s) can be
When you begin your career, you're going to be just as inexperienced as
your male counterparts. You're going to need advice and guidance just
like the new guys. Unlike the boys, however, you may well find more
willingness from the experienced cops to help you. I wonder why?
Anyway...never feel uncomfortable about putting anyone in his place if
he's making you feel uncomfortable.
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