Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Navy and Sexual Assault

We're pondering strange things going on over at the Navy Facebook page over at USNIBlog. Make sure and review the comments.


Stu said...

Aside from the ridiculous and insulting nature of the graphic, exactly how prevalent is sexual assault in the Navy today?  Given the amount of posters and attention I see given to this topic, I would be led to believe that Sailors are doing nothing but raping all of the females?  

Southern Air Pirate said...


The question should be is "are the rates of sexual assualt equal to what is seen in the civilian world?" The answer from what I know talking to one of my command SAVI reps and one of my DivO's who was a stats major, that are rates of Sexual Assualt per 1000 sailors is approximately equal to a major public university. That is about 5% of the population has experienced a sexual assualt. Now the other issue is how do we define "Sexual Assualt"? Is sexual assualt where one person touches another person's groin or chest? Or is it when someone commits an act of assualt with the intent of preforming a sexual act on the victim? Or is it just the act of Rape? Do we also count attempts under the category as well? If so then that screws with our precentages as well.  That definition is very important because then that can give you accurate numbers. There are a number of pro-male (or pro XY-chromosome if you will) diveristy groups that want the defined term of "Sexual Assualt" to be what it was on the FBI violent crime stats about 20 yrs ago. Simply cause there are those of the pro-female diversity groups who have tried to make the idea of making a cat-call or leering at a woman with "suggestive eyes" as a form of sexual assualt. Doing this only seems to elevate the amount of sexual assualt and the amount of $$ they will want for thier programs.

LT B said...

This is a touchy subject w/ me.  No pun intended.  I see the articles, the incidence sexual assault (SA) is being reported is going down.  A lot of us see that as a half full thing.  One, the fact that it happens at all is deplorable, the fact that it has gone down might suggest that the training is working, fear is working, the culture is changing, etc.  However, the groups that make a living off of this always throw in lines implying or saying outright that the SA #'s probably haven't gone down and that women are just afraid to report it.  This could be true, but I doubt it, especially w/ the way the Navy jumps on this subject.  There is money involved and if there are no SA incidents, then there is a whole industry that goes away. 

Additionally, I have seen more false assault claims than I have seen substantiated claims.  The couple claims that passed the sniff test were on the Army side and what I've seen of their handling of these situations is horrible.  I was a false SA claim victim so my view on this subject is skewed.  That said, there is no room for sexual assault.  Not male/male, male/female, nor female/female.  We have to keep two women separated on trips as one bashed the other's head into the bulkhead (lover's quarrel dontcha know).  If you look at the numbers for the service academies, they are quite a bit lower than you find at a civilian college.  You also find that something like 90% of these cases are alcohol realated.  The women, need to realize that, yes, it is their right to get falling down drunk, it is also in bad judgment and puts them in a bad situation.  It also opens up the ugly miscommunication door as well.  I am thinking of 2 cases I saw in my career where the girl, while drunk, invited the advance then afterwards, felt bad and said she had been assaulted or raped.  In both cases, somebody else was in the room or had walked in on them.  Both men went to GCM and were acquitted, and both had their careers ruined.  The mentality of penis = evil that is seen in that poster lends itself to this.  I am all for using grown up rules and approaches to fixing the problem.  If the Navy supports that poster and approaches like it, I would ask the leadership to get out of the high school mentality and come play in the adult world. 

Stu said...

I don't disagree with any of what either of you have said.  Maybe I am a bit of an odd duck, but in my 20 years I have never been in a command that had a sexual assault.  If it happens, I certainly want the perp dealt with harshly but I'm just not seeing the justification fo all of these programs. 

LT Rusty said...

There was one case whose fallout I had to deal with on USS FIRSTSHIP.

Female FN, male PO1 (her LPO), in the barracks at 'Goula.  Female cried rape.  Well, it turned out that my division's LPO was in the room right next to the one this happened in, and she could hear everything that happened.  Very clearly, as it was very loud.  Charges were dropped, PO1 became PO2, for fraternization.  That FN got transferred out of the division she was in, to my division, since I had a tough no-BS LPO that she wasn't going to slip anything past.

LT B said...

And of course, no punishment for the false allegation, right?  All the false allegations of assault and rape that I saw were not punished or dealt with.  They even protected the names of them in the papers.  Not certain why, the man's name was plastered all over the damned place.

SouthernAP said...

It is a damn shame that they used such an insulting and heavily suggetive poster on the Facebook stream. Then to leave it up even after the amount of hate mail they got via the commments only seems to say that the Facebook folks (who like all PAO's are the Voice of the CNO and the voice of offical policy) have given tact approval to the myth that all sailor's are Rapists. So next time fleet week happens in NYC, Miami, Seattle, or any other place in the nation; the mothers of those cities need to remember to lock up thier daughters to prevent a rape. Bah! Then to go and read the USNI blog posting and see one of the facebook admins for the US Navy page try again with a limp wrist defense of that just still speaks more of the evils that we have to deal with in trying to fix the numerous issues.

SouthernAP said...


They don't go after the false allegation anymore then the civilian police go after false allegations, because of the fear of bad press. The minute the press hears that the DoD/Navy/Army/AF/USMC/USCG tried to prosecute a "victim" of sexual assualt they will be all over them like flies to a cow pie. Why? Simply because sexual assualt has been heavily under reported in the military and the military isn't prosecuting those who bring the real claims. Have you not seen the exposes on CNN/MSNBC/NBC/ABC/your local news investigative team/NYT/WaPo/LAT/ChiTribue/etc.

pk said...

at the shipyard that i worked at, somewhat after tailhook, the shipyard commander hired the bigges hall in long beach and shut the yard down for a day. attencance was required and taken.

some very harsh threats were made by the speakers from some outfit in the sandiego (11th naval district?)command structure.

afterwards no man would be seen in a room with a woman without a third person present for witness purposes for about a month.

the women didn't like that a bit.

then we stepped back to watch the Norton Sound fiasco.


Anonymous said...

Agreed there are false reports. Agreed there is hype.

But then there are flag officers who think seven days of confinement is adequate punishment for serial sexual predators because courts martial are expensive.

There are also leaders in dc who send ncis agents to psych evals for telling the IG that this is a problem.

So yes. We do have a problem, but its not because all men are predators.

LT B said...

Yes, but I, too, can dream.  But, I am all for treating women like equals if they come into the work place and act like equals.  Some do, some don't.  I despise those that think they deserve special treatment.  If I'm not sleeping w/ you, I don't care where or how your fiddly bits are situated. 

Paddy Murphy said...

I'm a big advocate of shocking posters, especially on the topic of safety. I vividly remember a NAVSAFCEN poster at my last squadron that was simply a picture of a MM's hand - but with one finger (ring ringer) completely degloved to the bone.

The point? Remove your jewelry when working with machines. (In this case, the guy's wedding ring had caught on a lathe, destroying his finger)

Every time I had to walk by that poster, conveniently placed in a main p-way, I felt a little ill, but it was good for me. It was a daily punch-in-the-arm reminder about safety. Graphic pictures like that can shock a fairly desensitized, junior sailor and possibly, possibly make them think twice before doring something that day.. (In no way am I implying that these are a replacement for leadership and supervision from their LPO, Chief, etc. of course)

But this poster? Ugh. Double Ugh.

I saw a few comments at USNI and Facebook to the effect of "well, at least it's getting people talking about sexual assault." I disagree completely. People aren't really talking about sexual assault, they're talking mostly about the absurdity of this poster. They're talking about the blatant sexism in this poster. They're discussing whether or not that's a naked woman on the poster. All mature conversation about the topic has gone out the window.

At some tipping point, your message goes from shocking-but-effective to shocking-but-ridiculous. Things like this become a joke around the ship. Your message is mocked, lost, and ultimately ineffective. Later on, when you try to bring up the topic in a serious manner, sailors will roll their eyes and start daydreaming about their liberty plans.

I thought every DIVO-101 Leadership course taught you not to make a mockery of the important stuff. There are times when you can teach with humor, and there are times when humor is completely inappropriate. This topic is definitely the latter. Get your wheelbook out, sit down, shut up, and pay your best f*cking attention to the Chief up front.

BTW, how does one become a Navy Facebook Admin? That must be pretty sweet duty, pulling in DC BAH for surfing the web all day.

DeltaBravo said...

<span>Well, this is just stupid.  
Since they've done away with DADT, if men are by default all rapists, then they should change the poster to be two buck nekkid people wearing sandwich boards... a man and a woman.  Oops.. that's not PC is it?  
This has the air of someone taking a list of 10 ways women should protect themselves and turning it on its head.  Gee.. how clever to phrase the issue as to not being a predator instead of keeping people informed how not to be a victim.  
Let me fix the list (and it's about awareness that EVERYONE for different reasons can follow):  
1.  Don't put your drink down or presume someone can't put something in it.  Control your alcohol intake in mixed company to keep your wits about you.  
2.  Do not walk alone at night or in isolated places.  Stay with crowds.  
3.  If your car breaks down, stay in it with the door locked and call the police.  Do not roll your window down for strangers.  
4.  Lock your damn doors and windows.  
5.  Be careful when going into elevators and stairwells if persons already in there appear suspicious.  
6.  Use the Buddy System in public.  Don't let your dingbat friend go off alone with a stranger with a drink in her hand unless you want to see her end up like Natalie Holloway.  
7.  Be honest with a man.  Don't show lots of skin if you don't want to sleep with him.  Don't flirt and lead him on if you don't want it to go further.  Don't say yes or maybe when you mean no.    
8.  Don't get into someone's sleeping space or let them in yours if you don't want to have any kind of intimate relations.  Boundaries, people!  And don't pass out drunk and expect strangers to treat you with respect.  At the very least you're going to end up with embarrassing iPhone pictures all over the web.</span>
<span>9.  Carry a whistle... better yet, use some common sense.  And keep a cell phone handy.  Have friends call you and check on you periodically.</span>
<span>10.  Don't be a dumbass with a big "Victim" sign on your forehead inviting predators.  </span>
<span>Fact is, it's all common sense.  It's the way most women live.  But you know what?  We also have to watch our purses so people don't steal our wallets and we have to watch our kids so people don't kidnap them.  It's called being aware that not everyone is a good person.   </span>
<span>Stupid stupid stupid.  </span>

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Don't be silly, DB.  Everyone knows that gay men are very gentle and would never hurt a soul. 

Except for Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, Andrew Cunanan, Wayne Williams, Randy Kraft, Henry Lucas, Patrick Wayne Kearney...

DeltaBravo said...

Yep, URR.  And I'm betting that guy in NY with the kid's body parts in his freezer will reveal himself to have "identity issues" of some form or other.

That poster and the FB post ignores the fact that everyone (military people especially) should operate on a Code Yellow at the very least at all times.  Whatever situation you're in, situational awareness is YOUR job, not the other guy's/gal's.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

"Identity issues"?  Not guilty, your honor!  He was picked on in junior high and someone once called him a "fag" and the psychological scarring is what caused him to murder that boy and cut him up. 

After all, is there any crime, even murder, as serious as racial or lifestyle discrimination?  I think not.

DeltaBravo said...

Well, as long as BigNavy has determined that all men are pigs and predators and rapists, I hope they don't "discriminate" now and pretend that men can't be "rape victims" too. 

They can't have it both ways.  (Not meant the way it sounded but it's too late at night for me to try to think of a better way to phrase it). 

sid said...

Whats to keep Demure Sweet and Gentle - who has a "thing" for her chosen liberty buddy- from getting vindictive and spiteful against that "Eeevvyll Man" who didn't show her the return of affection she had been hoping for during the whole last at sea period...?

And setting the poor sap up for a Guilty Until Innocent nightmare?

AW1 Tim said...

TINS alert!

  True stor. My squadron left a female enlisted sailor in Rota Spain after we redeployed back to NAS Brunswick.  This woman had been out partying and missed muster. Rather than just admit it and take her lums, she claimed she had been raped by a local.

  The Spanish authorities brought her in for questioning and a lineup. She managed to identify a local fellow (whom she later admitted she had never met) from the lineup as the man who had raped her. Unfortunately, this fellow had an actual history of secual assault, so the Police believed her and let her go and jailed this fellow awaiting trial. This was all before the days of DNA evidence, etc.

  All would have been well for the woman, except that her concience got the better of her and she admitted she had made up the story. The local Spanish police threw her in jail, and there she sat for at least two months before she even got to see a magistrate. She was left in that jail when our squadron came home, and Spain has no time limit as to when a trial must take place, etc.

  I have no idea what eventually happened to her, but it illustrates that these dorts of things have been going on all along, and they will continue to.

  Men, of course, have their own faults and can manage to get into sufficient trouble at the slightest provocation or excuse. Still and all, it was an eye opener for all concerned.

guest said...

Well Said, DB.  Turned on it's head the post reflects real defense mechanisms, that big navy can't admit to it's sailors.  I noticed a comment on the USNI blog that referenced real men who would not use the lame techniques described in the Navy FB post and noted that anyone who would is a bit whacked at best. The message of respecting another is lost on those people.
Your turned on the head summation of the offending post is spot on.  How many men travel on code orange?  I know whenever I traveled from my sleepy eastern shore town though Baltimore, I went from Yellow to Red, before we crossed the Bay bridge. 
I'm not surprised however appalled that women live in condition yellow at best evey day, but like big navy, no one wants to admit a possible weakness in the structure.  Thanks for your fine analysis.

LT B said...

I know for a fact that they are all funny, well dressed, fabulous men and the women are great at fixing cars.  I know this because I saw it on Will and Grace. 

LT B said...

This made Fox News, btw.


CDR Salamander said...

The Daily Caller & Stars and Stripes as well.  The links are over at USNIBlog.