And Now This

[Content Note: Sexual assault.]

So far this month: An Air Force sexual assault prevention chief was charged with a sexual assault; an Air Force brochure on sexual assault was found to engage in victim-blaming and advise potential victims to submit to attackers; the Air Force's top commander blamed "the hookup mentality" for the US military's pervasive rape problem; Fort Hood's sexual assault prevention chief was relieved of his duties pending an investigation for "abusive sexual contact, pandering, assault and maltreatment of subordinates"; the head of Fort Campbell's sexual assault response program was arrested after violating an order of protection; and a staff adviser "responsible for the health, welfare and discipline" of a company of 125 cadets at West Point allegedly videotaped female cadets in the shower without their consent.

And now there is a report that an investigation has been launched at the Naval Academy after allegations that three football players sexually assaulted a female student.
The players were not named, nor was it revealed when the investigation started.

"Naval Academy leadership is monitoring the progress of this investigation and evaluating the appropriate options for adjudication," Naval Academy spokesman Cmdr. John Schofield said. "It is completely inappropriate to make any other public comment on this investigation or any ongoing investigation as we risk compromising the military justice process."
Ha ha of course. We definitely wouldn't want to compromise the excellent military justice process that's been so terrific at addressing the military's endemic sexual assault problem!

Speaking of which: Yesterday, the AP published the story of former Marine Stacey Thompson, who was a 19-year-old lance corporal when "her sergeant laced her drinks with drugs, raped her in his barracks, and then dumped her onto a street outside a nightclub at 4 a.m." When Stacy reported the incident:
She said she discovered her perpetrator was allowed to leave the Marine Corps and she found herself, instead, at the center of a separate investigation for drug use stemming from that night. Six months later, she was kicked out with an other-than-honorable discharge — one step below honorable discharge — which means she lost her benefits.

...The investigator called her a liar, and military authorities checked her hands for needle pricks after accusing her of using drugs. She said she never used drugs. She was reassigned to another unit, removed from her job and told to report to an office, where she had nothing to do for months.

Then she was kicked out. She continues to suffer from her other-than-honorable discharge, which stripped her of her benefits and she believes has led to her missing out on Defense Department jobs.

"I felt the Marine Corps re-victimized me again after getting raped," said [Stacy].
Contrary to the Naval Academy's contention, silence around sexual assault is not actually conducive to rape prevention. Silence abets rapists. And leaving the military in its institutional silence to handle sexual assault cases has resulted in an estimated 26,000 sexual assaults of servicemembers last year, only 3,374 of which were reported, and only 238 of which resulted in convictions.

More silence is not the answer.

In other news, the Pentagon has launched an online chat room for survivors of sexual assault.

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