So, the USAF devoted an entire day to Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR). It consisted of a morning briefing, a movie, and a three-hour afternoon small-group facilitated discussion.
I’m going to reproduce a selection of the slides from the briefing, slides that were ordered from the Chief of Staff and intended to be consistent across the entire Air Force. Some snarky commentary may be involved.
So, we’re already off to a discouraging start. Since victims are presumably identifying actual offenders out of lineups, the announcement that the Air Force is going to help the rest of us in “identifying offenders” sounds vaguely like what it other contexts (but not this one) has been called “McCarthyism”, or “profiling”.
Wait, what? Apparently, some other graphics got mixed in with the slides! That’s a WWII era propaganda poster about how the Japs are coming for our women. Let’s try again:
Let’s zoom in a bit:
So, under “Potential Perpetrator Characteristics/Indicators”, we see:
- Hold traditional gender role stereotypes;
- Endorse statements used to justify rape (“rape myths”);
- Hold adversarial beliefs about relationships between men and women; and
- Use powerful rationalizations to excuse their behavior as non-criminal.
No, sorry, that’s a WWI era poster about how the Kaiser is coming for our women. But . . . I’m starting to notice a pattern here.
A clearer view of the previous slide. I’ll have more about what “rape myths” are in a subsequent post. But I bet it would be a surprise to people who follow, say, James Dobson, that they are actually rapists because they believe in “traditional gender roles”.
But then, whoever we don’t happen to like at the time are always about to have their wicked way with our women.
But enough about beliefs. Let’s look at behavior:
I’ll have more about this in subsequent posts (SAPR day having provided a month’s worth of blogging material), but a couple of points here. The first is that the “Behavior Progression” is more or less what any guy interested in any girl would do, be his motives honorable or malevolent:
- Plan contact points;
- Create opportunities; and
- Exploits change meetings.
I am grateful, and not for the first time, that I’m already married. Single guys today are going to have to wait for the official AFI on approved courtship methods.
As for the “Grooming Methods”, many of them look like ordinary bar game, the whole point of which is to secure consent and measure receptivity, not perpetrate rape.
But apparently, seduction is also an enemy trait:
I’m pretty sure that’s intended as a caricature of a Jooish Freudian psychoanalyst betraying the virtue of his innocent client.
Some points about Airmen:
- “Knowing what constitutes consent”: the briefing doesn’t actually explain what constitutes consent in today’s environment, especially consent that can’t be retroactively withdrawn.
- “Confront inappropriate behavior and are willing to intervene”: I’ll have more on this later but will pause to note the irony that, while the victim’s behavior is never to blame, somehow third parties are now responsible.
And while I’m at it, I’m all for investigators “improv[ing] information collection,” but what does it mean for them to “empower victims”?
Damn! I’m pretty sure this poster’s caption translates to “Commie basterdz paw ur womenz,” but I would appreciate an expert translation.
The following slides cite the 2012 Workplace and Geneder Relations Survey of Active Duty Members (link below). I have read criticisms of this survey and the way it has been used, but I would appreciate any links to commentary that my readers can recommend.
That’s pretty specific for a number that includes both reported and unreported incidents. According to the notes, the “3259” are sexual assaults against active duty Air Force personnel only, but that number isn’t actually in the survey that I can find., It is apparently an extrapolation from the survey. The survey says:
“Completed surveys were received from 22,792 eligible respondents. The overall weighted response rate was 24% . . . . Overall, 6.1% of women and 1.2% of men indicated they experienced unwanted sexual contact in 2012.”
Page 19 says that these numbers were 3.1% of AF women and 0.5% of AF men. Page 61 says that among AF female victims, alcohol was involved in 52% of incidents, force was used in 63% of incidents. (Weirdly, considering the occasional insistence that men are victims too, the survey results don’t include male victim data at nearly the resolution for which it has female victim data.
From the Commander’s Curriculum Guide, a set of briefing notes that accompanies this slide show:
Risk reduction techniques (like telling potential victims to act a certain way or to not do certain things) may reduce risk, which is wise, but it does not stop offenders. At every opportunity alcohol has to be named as the weapon that it is. We must point out the fact that it may be skillfully used by the predator, often in what most would consider a non-hostile environment. When alcohol is viewed as the cause (or at least a part of the cause) its presence provides the perfect alibi for the predator. Explanations for sexual assault/rape that emphasize risky situations (drinking, dress, etc.) imply that danger is ‘natural’ to these circumstances as opposed to deliberately chosen by coercive individuals in order to maximize their potential for predating. ((Bourke, J; Rape: Sex Violence History. 2007)
So it seems like the Air Force can’t quite make up its mind about alcohol.
Parenthetically, I want to point out how Powerpoint has really harmed the art of propaganda. Most of these slides are pretty bloodless; the posters of yore, in contrast, are lurid and colorful.
Anyway, where was that slide . . . oh, here it is:
Slide 82 of the survey says that 73% of female victims did not report the incident, for a 27% report rate. That’s consistent with an overall report rate of 24%, since men report far less often. But I assume the Air Force doesn’t need survey numbers to estimate the reports, since they presumably have, you know, actual reports.
Slide 73 says that among Air Force victims, 43% were neither stalked nor harassed, 21% were both stalked and harassed, 7% were only stalked, and the number only sexually harassed is “NR”; however, since the other services’ columns add to 100%, my inference is that the sexual harassment only number is 29%. That makes 50% of cases that involve some sexual harassment. It is on the strength of this that the military now says that sexual harassment “leads to” sexual assault.
Here are some questions I had that the survey didn’t address:
- Racial demographics of perpetrators and victims. It may be that the survey didn’t collect this, but that kind of oversight strikes me as desperately incompetent. It may be that the survey collected the information but didn’t report it because there were no significant differences between races – but if not, then why not say so? As is, it looks like they’re hiding something.
- The survey makes a point of reporting how many active duty personnel experienced sexual assault prior to joining the military; the number is 27% for Air Force women (p. 143). But the survey says nothing about what the overlap is between this number and the number reporting sexual assault since joining the military. That might help develop a profile of victims as well as perpetrators, but despite the ease of its calculation, we aren’t told.
- The survey makes no mention (and I will return to point later) whether or not the victims verbally objected to the unwanted sexual contact, a.k.a. “assault”, let alone whether the perpetrator honored the objection. Apparently, the “one free grope” rule that Cllinton enjoyed is Old and Busted. From the survey (p. 1 – 2):
For the purposes of the 2012 WGRA survey, the term “unwanted sexual contact” means intentional sexual contact that was against a person’s will or which occurred when the person did not or could not consent, and includes completed or attempted sexual intercourse, sodomy (oral or anal sex), penetration by an object, and the unwanted touching of genitalia and other sexually-related areas of the body . . . . Of the 6.1% of women who experienced unwanted sexual contact, 32% indicated the most serious behavior they experienced was unwanted sexual touching only, 26% indicated they experienced attempted sex, and 31% indicated they experienced completed sex.
My personal opinion is that, for women, the breasts fall pretty unambiguously in the “other sexually related areas” category. But because this is undefined, it’s left to mean whatever a woman thinks it means. That’s not unreasonable – if someone doesn’t want to be touched, he/she shouldn’t be touched. But combined with the New Hotness that the first offense is immediately actionable, it leaves the potential for a lot of people to be caught in the shifting standards.
Here are the citations from the Commander’s Curriculum Guide:
2012 DoD Workplace and Gender Relations Survey of Active Duty Members (WGRA) http://www.sapr.mil/public/docs/research/2012_Workplace_and_Gender_Relations_Survey_of_Active_Duty_Members-Survey_Note_and_Briefing.pdf
Lisak, D. & Miller, P. (2002). Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists. Violence and Victims 17,1. p. 73-84.
Lonsway, K., Archambault, J., Lisak, D. (2009). False reports: Moving beyond the issue to successfully investigate and prosecute non-stranger sexual assault. National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women. 3 (1). http://www.nsvrc.org/publications/articles/false-reports-moving-beyond-issue-successfully-investigate-and-prosecute-non-s
McWhorter, S.K., Stander, V.A., Merrill, L.L., Thomsen, C.J., & Milner, J.S. (2009). Reports of rape reperpetration by newly enlisted male navy personnel. Violence and Victims. 24 (2): 204-18. www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA519627
Sadler, A., Booth, B., Cook, B., & Doebbeling, B. (2003). Factors associated with women’s risk of rape in the military Environment. American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 43: 262-73.
Last of all:
Golly, the SAPR office could recycle a lot of this stuff. Just replace the Hammers and Sickles with, I dunno, crosses I guess.