No elephant here, SIR!

Elephant skinThe US military has a problem. Sexual assault is rife within the ranks. Senator Carl Levin suggests that it can't be fixed “without a culture change throughout the military.” Sounds reasonable, but I don't know...

I thought I had a bright idea of such a culture change that would help the problem, but I can't find it anymore. All I can see is this great big gray wall with wrinkles on it.

Image by Greg Willis

Joseph and his wife, Heidi, have two children, Tate and Eliza Jane. He graduated from Vanderbilt University and Clearnote Pastors College. Currently serving as pastor of Clearnote Church in Indianapolis, Joseph is also working to plant a church in Cincinnati in 2015. Sign up here if you would like more info.

Comments

Possibly up to three elephants.  Over half the sexual assaults are male on male, so you'd at least need to make being sexually attracted to men a disqualifying behavior in a prospective soldier.  Also, Sen. Gillibrand evidently thinks that many officers are so dumb, they can't distinguish, um, a hand applied to the derriere from rape. 

Count me dubious on the third one, though, and suffice it to say that I'm not holding my breath on my proposal becoming reality anytime soon.  Rather, we'll keep pretending that we can take young, fit people who are sexually attracted to one another ten thousand miles from home, making them bored and more than a little scared, and nature won't take its course.

Yup, that'll do the...um...."trick".

They are right that we can't have men assaulting women in the military. After all, men were made to protect women. But that would mean...

Bert Perry--

So you're saying that rape is all about sexual attraction?  Funny, I'd been hearing since before I knew about the birds and the bees that it was all about power.

Rape is not "nature taking its course." Rape is about power and domination. And rape is certainly not about two people who are sexually attracted to one another. It is an act of violence, Mr. Perry.

Bob, I don't think Bert is claiming that rape is not an act of violence.  Perhaps I'm being too generous, but a reading of his comment suggests that he's pointing out that by stationing young male and female soldiers, who are at a time in their lives when sexual everything (attraction, frustration, etc.) are running high, 10,000 miles from home in a high-stress environment, after putting them through a conditioning program that isn't exactly designed to promote sensitivity and nurture, is probably going to foster some sexual problems, not all of which will involve violence.

Personally, I think Bertie and Bob make a basic error in categories, because not all sexual assault qualifies, legally, as rape, nor does all rape involve actual or threatened physical violence--beyond the obvious unwanted sexual act, of course.  So to assume that all these 26,000 assaults (including an unknown portion of rapes) are all, as Bertie says, an act of power or domination is a gross oversimplification of what we actually have here, if not an outright falsification--lie--of the data.

Just as happens countless times on campus, young, drunk, lustful, scared and lonely is a recipe not only for voluntary fornication, but also attempts at involuntary fornication. 

OK, sexual assault is also an act of violence. It is not "nature taking its course".

Categories again, Bob.  I can concede that all forms of sexual assault are compulsion (the victim is compelled to take part) without doing violence, so to speak, to the hypothesis that it is nature taking its course.  They are not mutually exclusive categories.

To translate into your category, when we take young, lustful people ten thousand miles from home, make them quite scared and lonely, and put them into the company of other such young, lustful people to whom they're sexually attracted, you are going to get quite a bit of fornication (actual word for women in the Army; "mattresses"), the fringe of which is going to cross the borders of lawful consent.

That doesn't excuse the behavior, but it does tell us that it matters what kind of systems we set up.  Create a system that any adult knows is going to lead to rampant fornication, and you shouldn't be surprised when that fornication spills over into sexual assault and rape.

Sounds like you are trying to smush "Normal Youthful Lust" and "Sexual Assault" together, in order to make sexual assault sound more acceptable. Sorry, but that doesn't work.

One is a crime, leading to imprisonment. The other is not.

Lust is not a crime. Sexual assault is.

Lots of decent people want sexual intimacy. NO decent person wants to sexually assault someone.

It's repugnant to think of sexual violence as "nature taking it's course." 

You know, Bob, if I hadn't written just the opposite of what you're claiming, I could take you seriously.  What part of "that doesn't excuse the behavior" are you having trouble understanding?

 

"Senator Carl Levin suggests that it can't be fixed “without a culture change throughout the military.”

The elephant Levin cannot or refuses to see is that Progressive tinkering with the culture of the Armed Services is what brought it to this point. They just love making the military a Petri dish for their radical equalitarianism. Placing women in all the military arms has significantly degraded its readiness and ability to protect the nation.

Bob,

I think you've got it backwards. Bert Perry is associating what you call "Normal Youthful Lust" with sexual assault to make lust (and the system that encourages it) seem less acceptable. I hate to state the obvious, but you know that only a monster or a "straw man" would advocate to make sexual assault seem acceptable. I'm sure Bert is neither of those things.

John,

Interesting that you should mention the military being a Petri dish for Progressive ideology. The same thought struck me when they tried to outlaw evangelism last month.

Thanks, Elliot.  I certainly am described by Romans 3:23, but am blessed with enough sanctification to present things as you describe.

One reason I come out against comments like Bob's and Bertie's, by the way, is that I've been the victim of  sexual assault at least twice in my life, and in neither case was it a matter of power or domination.  In the first, my male babysitter (I was about 11) decided, after having been molested himself by a teacher, that he needed to present the "facts of life" to me.  He simply thought it was the way things should be, as it was what he'd seen.

In the second case, a young lady in college decided that my thighs were fair game for groping when she learned I was a runner--suffice it to say that I'm pretty sure that lust was involved.  I firmly, but as graciously as possible, removed her hands from my legs. 

So I know, from experience, that not all sexual assault is a desire for power and domination, and I'd submit to all the idea that if we act as if it is, we're going to miss obvious chances to protect ourselves, and others, from this sin.

You may not be able to see it, but a babysitter molesting a child is about power. There is an unequal balance of power, and he is taking advantage of it. I'm sorry that happened to you.

As for your second example, I am pretty sure that none of the military's sexual assault cases are about a woman putting her hand on a man's thigh, and the man saying no. Because that is not assault. If the woman had persisted *despite* the no, that would would have been assault.

John,

Here's what Bert said about sexual assault cases in the military, many of which involve actual rape.

"Rather, we'll keep pretending that we can take young, fit people who are sexually attracted to one another ten thousand miles from home, making them bored and more than a little scared, and nature won't take its course."

Here are some of the odd things about his comments:

1. Pointing out that the people involved are "young and fit." 

2. Saying (erroneously) that they are sexually attracted to each other. No, the victim clearly is not sexually attracted to the perpetrator

3. Saying that the sexual assault is "nature taking its course"

I simply pointed out that sexual assault is a crime, and not "natural" or OK no matter how far you are from home, or how scared you might be.

Our military might be far stronger if we expected self-discipline from its ranks. We should not say that a *crime* is something natural simply because one's colleagues are fit and young, or one is far away from mom and dad.

I simply pointed out that sexual assault is a crime, and not "natural" or OK no matter how far you are from home, or how scared you might be.

Sexual assault is not "OK" but in certain respects it is normal, particularly in the context of warfare.  Note to "Bob," saying something is "normal" is not saying something is acceptable or good.  Many things are normal and evil.

Our military might be far stronger if we expected self-discipline from its ranks.

You strike me as someone who has spent little or no time in those ranks.  Not least because you haven't the self-discipline required.

Bob, the "nature" to which we refer would include the "sin" nature, per Romans 3:23, no?  Natural is not synonymous with good, as anyone who deals with mosquitoes or manure knows full well.

And your claims about assault?  Well, the average perp is 31, and the rate of the crimes clearly decreases with age.  Clearly age, maturity, and (ahem) hormonal levels have something to do with this.  Moreover, the law does not require the perpetrator to ignore an objection before groping qualifies as indecent assualt.  Here's the Army's site regarding the matter:

http://www.sexualassault.army.mil/content/faqs.cfm

Sorry.  The facts simply don't match the propaganda you've been fed, Bob.

The pervasiveness of rape in prisons - which are sex-segregated and comprised of predominantly heterosexuals - would suggest that rape is in fact related to dominance rather than sexual attraction.   

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