The U.S. Air Force provides service members with a brochure on how to avoid sexual assault -- rather than on how to avoid committing sexual assault -- according to a copy of the handout acquired by Wired magazine Tuesday. The Air Force's struggles with sexual assault were already in the spotlight this week after the Air Force officer who led their Sexual Assault Prevention and Response unit was himself arrested for sexually assaulting a woman in Virginia.
“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 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.
Advocates on the issue of assault in the military told Wired that the brochure is another example of placing the burden of prevention on victims rather than perpetrators.