Air Force chief in charge of sexual assault prevention arrested for sexual assault

This case bullshit right here is what one would call a “circular reference”:

An Air Force officer was arrested for sexual assault. The remarkable thing is the accused man was the chief of the Air Force sexual assault prevention unit.

The mug shot of Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski shows signs of struggle on his face. The police report alleges that a drunken Krusinski “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.

News of the incident in the Virginia suburbs of Washington broke the day before the Pentagon is scheduled to release new figures showing a continuing rise in sexual assaults in the military: A six-percent increase from 3,192 to 3,374 reports of sexual assault in fiscal year 2012 compared to the previous year.

When your “ally” becomes you assailant, then whom can military women trust to be their advocates? Combined with a spike in reports of sexual assault and/or misconduct, how we can take the Pentagon seriously in addressing the culture of rape and sexual misconduct? And if your “advocate” who was supposed to investigate and seek justice for the survivors becomes a predator, how can we believe that the Air Force enforces their code of conduct? How can you combat the culture of rape and sex abuse in your own house if your “chief” isn’t present enough to see how he can become abuser?

This isn’t irony as much as it is a tragic indicator of how seriously the Air Force takes sexual abuse, and may be complicit in a system that turns a blind eye to abuse or brands victims “crazy” to avoid addressing the epidemic of sexual assault in the military.

SYREETA MCFADDEN is a Brooklyn based writer, photographer and adjunct professor of English. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Guardian, BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, Religion Dispatches and Storyscape Journal. She is the managing editor of the online literary magazine, Union Station, and a co-curator of Poets in Unexpected Places. You can follow her on Twitter @reetamac.

Syreeta McFadden is a contributing opinion writer for The Guardian US and an editor of Union Station Magazine.

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