Any sexual assault against a military professional is unacceptable. When it’s perpetrated by another service member—a blue-on-blue assault in Navy jargon—it is particularly disturbing, so efforts by the Navy and the other services to place emphasis on eliminating these violent crimes are commendable.
Increased focus on the issue, however, has led some to assert that sexual assaults are part of military culture, suggesting acceptance among service members. A recent Associated Press article on the topic is particularly troublesome for making such an unsupported assertion.
A 27 June 2012 article titled “Navy is Trying to Make a Culture Change on Preventing Sexual Assaults Among its Sailors” examined the current state of Navy and Department of Defense efforts to reduce and hopefully eliminate these crimes, but the AP’s decision to frame the issue as a culture change was misleading and uninformed. That headline promotes the idea that sexual assaults occur because they are part of Navy norms and to date have been acceptable as such.