A man, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, who was in charge of a branch of the Air Force’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program, was arrested after groping and assaulting a woman in a parking lot. How can that be? Didn’t he read his own specialty’s literature on sexual assault?
Maybe he did. You should take a look at the Air Force brochure on sexual assault. Not one word telling men not to do it, but lots of lecturing to the woman readers on what to do.
“It may be advisable to submit [rather] than resist,” reads the brochure (.pdf), issued to airmen at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina, where nearly 10,000 military and and civilian personnel are assigned. “You have to make this decision based on circumstances. Be especially careful if the attacker has a weapon.”
The brochure, acquired by Danger Room, issues a series of guidances on “risk reduction” for sexual assault. Among others, it advises people under sexual attack in parking lots to “consider rolling underneath a nearby auto and scream loud. It is difficult to force anyone out from under a car.” A public affairs officer at Shaw, Sgt. Alexandria Mosness, says she believes the brochure is current.
While the brochure also explains that sexual assault is not always committed by people who “don’t look like a rapist” — attackers “tend to have hyper-masculine attitudes,” it advises — it does not offer instruction to servicemembers on not committing sexual assault. Prevention is treated as the responsibility of potential victims.
You know who is going to love that brochure? Rapists. Informing their victims to submit as a matter of official policy is simply a delightful inducement to go out and get some by force.
There is apparently some administrative inertia to making changes in the rape culture on air force bases.
“To any rational person this is completely backwards and shows the scope of epidemic,” Purchia added. “Fundamental reforms are needed — the reporting, investigation and adjudication of sexual assault must be taken out of the chain of command.”
That’s a step that the military has been reluctant to take. At today’s hearing, Welsh and Donley expressed concern that doing so might pose a risk to “good order and discipline,” as Donley put it. (“This is not good order and discipline,” replied Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand of New York.)
That’s exactly what I was thinking. How does rape fit into the ideal of good order and discipline?