Criminal Charges Aside, the Air Force's Sexual Assault Prevention Program Advises Victims To Submit


 Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski
Arlington Police Department

In a bit of news that brings to mind, "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" it seems that an Air Force brochure offering advice on "Sexual Assault Prevention & Response" offers nuggets of wisdom that are … umm … just a bit awkward, in light of the arrest, for sexual assault, of the guy in charge of the Air Force's sexual assault prevention program. Obtained and posted online by Wired, the brochure from Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina counsels victims that "it may be advisable to submit than to resist." Aside from the atrocious construction of that sentence, that's a hell of a bit of advice to have handed out by a program headed up by a guy who, assuming the charges prove well-founded, would probably very much like his victims on the submissive side.

According to U.S. News & World Report:

Arlington police have charged Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski with sexual battery after a woman reported he grabbed her breasts and buttocks in a parking lot in the early morning hours of Sunday, May 5, before fighting him off.

Stars and Stripes reported Monday that Krusinski had been removed from his position as head of the Air Force's sexual assault prevention and response branch. He will be arraigned on Thursday, where an Arlington judge will determine under whose jurisdiction he will be tried. The Air Force has requested jurisdiction over the case.

Wired reports that the brochure was provided "by Protect Our Defenders, an advocacy group that raises awareness of sexual assault within the military."

The brochure is "an affront to victims", [Protect Our Defenders spokesman Brian] Purchia told Danger Room. "The Air Force should be passing out pamphlets to our men and women in uniform on how not to commit sexual assault. … This brochure is just the latest in a long history of failed programs and policies. The military's sexual assault prevention campaigns are rooted in a wrong headed 1950?s paradigm."

Actually, I see nothing wrong with instructing people on how to avoid dangerous situations and how to defend yourself if attacked. But, while the brochure (you can see the whole thing here) does advise "rolling under a car," screaming and being aware of surroundings, the closest it comes to defensive tips when under attack is to advise:

If an attacker does manage to get into your car do everything in your power to exit the car, if possible, do not let attacker take you to an isolated area. If you are behind the wheel, steer your car into any object that will create a minor accident in a public/populated area. Take advantage while your attacker's attention is momentarily diverted to run, yell or scream. Get away and attract attention …

This is advice to armed forces personnel? 1950s paradigm, indeed. Purcha tells Wired that "as a general rule research indicates and it's generally understood that fighting back often can fend off the attacker and usually does not lead to greater injury."

I don't really think that Krusinski was distributing seemingly archaic advice to soften up potential victims, even assuming that he's guilty of the charges he faces. But it does seem he was doing a truly terrible job of running an effective, modern sexual assault prevention program and preparing people to react to unpleasant incidents.

All the more reason to keep a skeptical eye on supposed authorities, keep a close eye on your appointed watchmen, and take as much responsibility as possible for your own safety.