When will they get the picture? When will the military finally get the picture that sexual assault has nothing to do with making sure servicemembers have the right information?
Maybe the Air Force will get the picture when they see the photo of the head of their own Sexual Assault Prevention and Response branch arrested and charged with sexual battery.
Air Force Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski was arrested by Arlington County police at 12:30 a.m. on Sunday near the strip club that is a mile away from the Pentagon. He is accused of grabbing a woman’s breasts and buttocks before she allegedly fought him off, according to the Arlington police report.
The picture shows a roughed up Krusinski in his mug shot looking down and to the right. He is the picture of shame.
Because he — like every single person in the military who has ever taken a class on sexual assault — knows that you don’t grab women in parking lots.
He doesn’t need a class. He doesn’t need remedial training. Preventing sexual assault is not about acquiring the proper information about good touches and bad touches and appropriate behavior in the chain of command.
So what is sexual abuse about? I wish I knew for sure. Researchers have spent their entire professional lives trying to unravel all the factors that contribute to sexual abuse and sexual assault.
If it was as easy as identifying factors, the military would have come up with a test to pluck every abuser from the ranks. They know how destructive this kind of behavior is.
But it ain’t that easy. Abusers have been shown to come from all backgrounds, all races, all sections of the country. Abusers are male and female. Heterosexual and homosexual. Rich and poor. Educated and uneducated. Military and civilian.
Alcohol or alcoholism is frequently a contributing factor. Researchers have often pointed to unequal power relationships in our culture — particularly in the military — as problematic.
Sexual abusers don’t necessarily have some kind of mental illness you could test for. They aren’t criminals in every part of their lives. Often the sex offender is a law-abiding, responsible, “guy next door” kind of person — except for the sexual assault charge.
So what does it mean when you know all that? What does it mean when the sexual assault cases against military members keep turning up in the media — especially against senior officers and enlisted? What do you do when servicemembers do not do what they know is right?
You do what you can, I guess. You do what you can knowing that individual people are messy. They do stupid things. They do evil things. They do exactly what they are trained not to do.
And the right response is to prosecute the offenders. The right response is to keep looking for the undiscovered factor. The right response is to look in the hearts of men and women and keep searching for whatever it is that triggers this kind of behavior. And fix it.