Ongoing sexual assault in the military of our United States? Who knew? How long has this been occurring, and what’s being done to stop it? Our nation has felt vulnerable and abused over the past weeks with the Boston Marathon bombing. Now we have breaking news that Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Krusinski, Chief of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response of the United States Air Force was arrested in Arlington, Virginia and charged with sexual battery. The arrest report states:
SEXUAL BATTERY, 05/05/13, 500 block of S. 23rd Street. On May 5 at 12:35 am, a drunken male subject approached a female victim in a parking lot and grabbed her breasts and buttocks. The victim fought the suspect off as he attempted to touch her again and alerted police. Jeffrey Krusinski, 41, of Arlington, VA, was arrested and charged with sexual battery. He was held on a $5,000 unsecured bond.
He was relieved of his position immediately upon the arrest being made known. Krusinski was based at the Pentagon.
Millions of Americans are asking how sexual assault in the military could unknowingly take place within the ranks. It is suggested many perpetrators may have been higher ranking commanding officers. Thousands of advocates and counselors have seen reports stating sexual assault in the military was happening often. The Emmy-nominated documentary, “Invisible War,” draws attention to this matter in stark detail. It revealed that a female U.S. soldier in a combat zone is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire. Victims spoke out. News reports that in 2011 there were over 19,000 active duty troops who experienced sexual assault in the military. Those are the reported ones. It is factual that rape/sexual assault is the crime least likely to be reported, suggesting that 19,000 is perhaps the tip of the iceberg, just as in civilian sexual assaults. The victim is threatened with retribution, and sometimes death. To the military’s credit, over the past year or more, many branches have stepped forward, recognized the terror within their ranks, and have attempted to stem the outbreak of sexual assault in the military.
Sexual Assault in the Military— A Victim of Sexual Assault Point of View
I have blogged for years pointing out sexual assault and domestic violence are entrenched in power and control. It’s all about having power over the victim. It is through my own personal experience and knowledge that I understand the victim’s mentality. “Why should they believe me over an officer?” This woman who has reportedly been battered by Lieutenant Colonel Krusinski was bold enough to speak up, to speak out. Silence is the greatest weapon of sexual abuse. If the offender can manipulate and intimidate their prey, assert power over them, they will then control the situation. They will walk—most likely to repeat the despicable action again, on their next mark.
For those who follow my blog, attended one of my speaking engagements or has seen one of my interviews, you are probably aware that statistics tell us 1 out of every 6 women will become the victim of an attempted or successful rape. The age range for those most often sexually assaulted are between the ages of 16 and 24 years. Those who are uneducated about sexual assault will probably ask that all too common question, “What did she do to provoke him?” That is either a lack of understanding, or arrogance regarding such a serious matter. Rape is not sex. It is physical violence; it is exercising power and control over a weaker person. I have pointed out in numerous posts that alcohol is all too commonly associated with sexual assault. Oftentimes drugs are involved.
Now we hear Lieutenant Colonel Krusinski was drunk. It was Cinco deMayo, folks were out partying. Nothing unusual about that. But, it’s also not unusual for sexual assault and alcohol to engage with each other. It’s almost stereotypical. A man tips back a few too many, he is physically and/or societally stronger than their victim. He becomes a predator looking for his prey. Over the past years, I have had conversations with others about sexual assault in the military. The mother of a female stationed on a Navy vessel gained knowledge her daughter’s comrade had been raped—by multiple sailors. She encouraged her to report it. The victim was adamant that was not a viable choice. She had been threatened by her attackers that if she opened her mouth, it would be a shame for her to mysteriously somehow fall overboard, off the carrier and into the ocean.
I now talk and counsel with a member of my own family—a former soldier and beautiful young mother of three. She fought for her country, and has confided she was raped by a commanding officer. She served her time and got out. This victim has consistently sought clinical counseling, has attempted suicide on numerous occasions, and still battles with PTSD from the attack. Her rapist continues to serve our country with other female soldiers.
When I was a child and teen being sexually molested, I felt powerless…I WAS powerless when it came to the perpetrator. I came to perceive it was easier for everyone involved if I just kept my mouth shut. I did all I could to avoid the molester, from hiding in closets, underneath my house and in the tops of trees. After my book was released, almost without exception, every female in my generation of our family confided in me, “Oh, my gosh! I thought I was the only one!” He was a serial pedophile. I’ve come to learn that through the work I pursue with great passion as an advocate, consultant, trainer, speaker and spiritual counselor, we can bring the light of awareness and understanding into the pit of darkness of sexual assault. Victims can become survivors. Be sure to visit our Victim Support Page while here on our site. It is chock full of helpful information and links to those who may help you make it safely out of your situation.
It is reported Chief Krusinski will likely not be tried in a military court. This will help provide a clearer revelation of what took place. However, I remind the reader—Lieutenant Colonel Krusinski is innocent unless found guilty by a jury of his peers.
Heads have been turned and eyes closed, not only in the military, but throughout our country. If, in fact, the allegations against Lieutenant Colonel Krusinski prove to be true, we have a perfect example of the fox guarding the hen house.
NOTE: While all attackers or perpetrators of sexual assault are not men, and not all victims of sexual assault are women, I refer to the gender cases above based upon the statistics which point out women are overwhelmingly the victims.
Carolyn S. Hennecy is a Designated Victim Services Practitioner by the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Florida and an accredited speaker/trainer offering CEU’s to Social Workers, LCSW, LMHC and LMFT. She is recognized nationally as an expert survivor spokesperson on domestic/intimate partner abuse and violence, sexual assault and child molestation and abuse.
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