The US Military undoubtedly has a sexual assault problem, and after reading this article that appeared in Military Times, it's not hard to see why.
In the newspaper's legal advice column, one "concerned" almost-criminal asks a question about the sexual assault charge he's facing.
The anonymous inquirer thought the sexual contact he had with someone else was consensual, but now he's confronted with with this charge. Forget about the fact that his wording blames the victim by accusing her of "sending mixed signals." Poor guy is confused.
But Military Times columnist, war veteran and attorney Matthew B. Tully is on the case. Tully answers this question, and his response is seriously troubling.
He suggests that the "mixed signals" excuse is very valid and will likely help this guy walk free... so he can have other sexual encounters of an ambiguous consenting nature.
According to Tully:
When a man or woman sends mixed messages before or during sexual activity — and later accuses the other party of sexual assault in violation of Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice — the accused may be able to raise the issue of mistake-of-fact.
Thanks to a sexist military law and legal precedent, men can question the validity of a victim's claims that the sex was not consensual, and a lot of the time, they can use this defense to get away with assault and rape.
According to an incident between two military personnel discussed in the 2008 U.S. v. Michael C. DiPaola, one woman who kissed the individual she was in an on-and-off relationship with was sending "mixed messages" to the man who attempted to force himself on her, even though she repeatedly said "no."
If saying "no" isn't a clear lack of consent, then I don't know what is.
The military might be attempting to protect our country, but how about specifically protecting your own? There need to be stricter laws against sexual assault that don't criminalize the victim or let the perpetrator plead ignorance.