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Air Force Brochure Tells Sexual Assault Victims to ‘Submit’

• Spencer Ackerman via

An Air Force brochure on sexual assault advises potential victims not to fight off their attackers.

“It may be advisable to submit [rather] than resist,” reads the brochure (.pdf), issued to airmen at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina, where nearly 10,000 military and civilian personnel are assigned. “You have to make this decision based on circumstances. Be especially careful if the attacker has a weapon.”

The brochure, acquired by Danger Room, issues a series of guidances on “risk reduction” for sexual assault. Among others, it advises people under sexual attack in parking lots to “consider rolling underneath a nearby auto and scream loud. It is difficult to force anyone out from under a car.” A public affairs officer at Shaw, Sgt. Alexandria Mosness, says she believes the brochure is current.

While the brochure also explains that sexual assault is not always committed by people who “don’t look like a rapist” — attackers “tend to have hyper-masculine attitudes,” it advises — it does not offer instruction to servicemembers on not committing sexual assault. Prevention is treated as the responsibility of potential victims.

“Rapists look for vulnerability and then exploit it in those who: are young (naive); are new to the base, deployment, area, etc.; are emotionally unstable,” the brochure (.pdf) continues.

All this comes as the Air Force, and the U.S. military more broadly, deals with the fallout of the service’s sexual-assault prevention and response chief, Lt. Col Jeffrey Krusinski, getting arrested on sexual-battery charges on Sunday. During a Senate hearing today, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), grilled Air Force officials on how Krusinski was placed in his post. “His record is very good,” Gen. Mark Welsh III, the Air Force’s chief of staff, said, citing a lack of warning signs in Krusinski’s prior service.

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