Languishing in YouTube obscurity is an Air Force SAPR (Sexual Assault Prevention and Response) video I originally watched in ~2006. After some initial CSAF boilerplate, the video shows a re-enactment of the run-up to a sexual assault. (The video should start playing at the beginning of the dramatization, just shy of 7 minutes in.)
In the early days of the current obsession with “sexual assault” in the military, the leadership of the Air Force, God bless them, hadn’t yet realized the intended program was about power and intimidation; they actually thought that they should try to, you know, prevent sexual assault, and quite reasonably assumed that this should be an effort that should address both male and female behavior. This video is what they came up with. While not without its problems, I was impressed that the vignette describes what, nineteen times in twenty, has become standard bar game: handsome guy chats up cute girl, plies her with drinks and takes her home. And in those nineteen times, what happens might lead to no worse than morning-after regrets or, in some cases, a trip to an abortion clinic.
But its that twentieth case that leads many people (me, for instance) to warn their daughters: abstract sexual ethics aside, this kind of behavior can result in traumatic, soul-destroying outcomes. We can – and should – debate whether the events in the film are legally actionable, and how in these circumstances the standard of proof could be met. But that’s just cleaning up the mess. The lesson young ladies should take away is: as much as it depends on you, don’t make the mess. It’s not about “blaming the victim,” it’s about staying out of harms way.
Unfortunately, it is a message the Air Force has now largely cast aside. The SAPR 2015 season cranked up this week, and the kindest thing I can say about it is that I’ll have no shortage of blogging material.