May 11, 2013 at 3:43 am #87867
Gary Kleck has done quite a bit of study on criminal/victim interaction, and is an authority on criminalogical study of self-defense. Dacia and other students or academics should have access to the JSTOR article, but there are several others available on the internet. This one just happens to cover rape directly.
Concerning the reference to the Air Force pamphlet on rape and sexual assault, there are special considerations. For one, it is generally more difficult to be armed with any type of weapon when you are a member of the military in a non-combat context. Despite popular belief, military personnel don’t sleep with their M4 loaded by their bedside, or carry their weapons around with live ammunition on base or while on leave. Military installations are federal lands, and tend to have strict weapon regulations that exceed those of the states in which they are located. If I was still in the USMC and stationed on a base in Washington (there aren’t many marines here, but work with me), I could carry a gun off base with my Concealed Pistol License when I was off duty, but would be relatively unarmed when traveling on base or while on duty on or off base. This is especially true for unmarried personnel, who are almost always required to store personally owned weapons in some armory at the MP station, or the like. Married personnel can often store firearms in base housing, or in dwellings off base. For all intents and purposes, you can consider military installations to be Gun Free Zones, in the sense that only limited personnel are armed at any given time outside of ranges, MPs, and certain duties. Even when you are on a base and see a platoon marching with their rifles, they likely are practicing parade drill or travelling to or from some sort of training, and have no live ammunition on them. When I was in the USMC (1994-2001), it was common practice to turn pockets inside out and remove all gear for an ammo search when leaving the range, to ensure that nobody had any live ammunition that wasn’t expressly authorized.
NOTE: Think about this if you ever discuss the Ft. Hood shooting in the context of gun laws. Folks like to mention that guns are useless in defense, with this instant as an example. Knowing what you know now, your horseshit detector should go off when they say “It was an army base, and they have all the guns in the world.” The guns aren’t very useful for self defense when they are locked up in an armory 5 miles down the road while the madman shoots his illegally carried guns at you.
The relative lack of availability of any type of weapon carried on her person, whether in the US or abroad, changes the dynamics of defense against rape or sexual assault for a military woman (or civilian woman working or living on a military base). Resistance without a deadly weapon against a man, who is almost invariably bigger and stronger, can help to prevent completion of the rape and further serious injury. It can also lead to greater harm at the hands of the larger, stronger assailant, since she doesn’t have a weapon to improve the balance. Add to that fact that she faces a greater likelihood that her assailant is a well-trained (and perhaps even experienced) killer, and you can see how one might recommend non-resistance under these circumstances. It is arguable that it might generally be the strategy that leads to less harm to her than violent resistance. Not 100%, but these things never are. Resistance with a weapon improves the odds of preventing completion of the crime or injury significantly, with the most useful weapon for this being the type that goes BANG and induces high-speed lead poisoning. The effectiveness progresses downward in effectiveness as you move to knives, clubs, etc. Hand-to-hand combat for a woman against a man is a much more dicey proposition, but is more likely to be the only option available for active, violent resistance.
As for the hope that the memo gets out that rape is wrong, I share Dacia’s sentiment. We should always be moving toward a society where rape and other crimes are reduced before they happen. But that doesn’t change the fact that some folks never get the memo, and it is still a good idea to deal with reality in the meantime. Wish in one hand, spit in the other, tell me which one fills up first. No matter how enlightened the military or civilian justice system, or society at large, some folks try to rape other folks. If ever there were asses asking for busted caps, perhaps the rapists cry out among the loudest for them.
This fits into a holistic approach to dealing with violent crime. Nothing says we can’t improve victim resistance as a deterrent AND work to improve institutions to increase conviction rates AND work to change our culture to ensure it doesn’t foster and create violent criminals. We can do all of these concurrently, as they mutually reinforce each other.
That being said, the military is a particularly vexing problem for rape prevention. Not only does the culture still have some old-school misogyny and chest-pounding manliness baked in, it also removes many self-defense tools available to civilian women from women on military installations (including civilian spouses and non-military workers).
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