Combating Military Rape, Ctd

The head of the Air Force’s sexual assault prevention and response branch has been charged with sexual battery after groping a woman in a parking lot over the weekend. Syreeta is slack-jawed:

[I]f your “advocate” who was supposed to investigate and seek justice for the survivors becomes a predator, how can we believe that the Air Force enforces their code of conduct? How can you combat the culture of rape and sex abuse in your own house if your “chief” isn’t present enough to see how he can become [an] abuser? This isn’t irony as much as it is a tragic indicator of how seriously the Air Force takes sexual abuse, and may be complicit in a system that turns a blind eye to abuse or brands victims “crazy” to avoid addressing the epidemic of sexual assault in the military.

A day after the arrest, the Pentagon released a new report showing that the problem of sexual assault in the military has only gotten worse:

The report from the Department of Defense’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office for Fiscal Year 2012 found a 6 percent rise in reported assaults over the last year, for a total of 3,374. But much more troubling is the estimated number of sexual assault incidents that were never officially reported. In last year’s report, there were an estimated 19,000 instances, but this year the number has jumped to an unprecedented 26,000 instances of assault, leaving thousands unreported.

Ackerman uncovers another troubling document:

An Air Force brochure on sexual assault advises potential victims not to fight off their attackers.

“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 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. …

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. “Rapists look for vulnerability and then exploit it in those who: are young (naive); are new to the base, deployment, area, etc.; are emotionally unstable,” the brochure (.pdf) continues.

The Dish has covered the issue extensively.