This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.
Nothing better sums up the military’s problem regarding sexual assault than the mug shot of Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski.
The officer in charge of the Air Force’s sexual assault prevention programs had been arrested — on suspicion of sexual battery in a parking lot against a woman he did not know. Police say she fought him off and called 911.
That someone like Krusinski – an Air Force Academy graduate – may not have gotten the message about unwanted sexual advances shows how far the military still must go to address the problem.
And it’s a big one. Based on anonymous surveys, the Defense Department estimates that about 26,000 service members were sexually assaulted in 2012 – an increase of almost 37 percent over the previous year. Sexual assault was defined as anything from rape to “unwanted sexual touching” of private parts. Only 3,374 of those assaults were reported in 2012.
Why are so few reported? The survey suggests that victims fear retaliation and have little confidence that the military will prosecute the offense. Read more »