Consultant offers insight into sexual assault, prevention
By Staff Sgt. Kali L. Gradishar, 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 14, 2013
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Buckley's leadership team gathered March 13 in the Leadership Development Center to gain a different perspective on sexual assault and prevention.
More than 150 service member and civilian leaders from the 460th Space Wing, 140th Wing Air National Guard, Aerospace Data Facility-Colorado and Colorado Army National Guard, as well as representatives from the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Programs, listened and interacted as Anne Munch shared her insight into how leaders can better cultivate an environment of intolerance for sexual assault.
Munch is a consultant and an advocate for victims of sexual assault, and she is "no stranger to the military and she's no stranger to this issue," said Col. Dan Dant, 460th Space Wing commander. "She has seen and heard some terrible things in her 25 years dealing with sexual assaults ... and hopefully she gives you a new perspective on how to deal with this problem."
The former prosecutor, raised in a family with an Air Force father and a self-stated loving environment, realized the defining moment in her budding career years ago as an intern at a family crisis center where children were protected from parents or guardians who committed unthinkable acts.
"There can't be people who can do this to a child or to other people," she said she thought to herself as she read a police report for the first time. She knew at that moment that she would grow up to fight against acts of domestic violence and sexual abuse to try to "eliminate it altogether."
The former prosecutor then shared personal anecdotes of key moments in her life that lead to a greater understanding of violent, sexual crime - namely the Unnamed Conspirator, which she titles her briefing about sexual assault awareness and prevention.
She questioned who the parties were to sexual assault - Victim and Offender. But the third party involved, and who is often less considered, is the "Unnamed Conspirator."
The Unnamed Conspirator includes all societal stereotypes applied to sexual assaults:
The woman who dresses provocatively is asking for a man to rape her. The man who sees a beautiful woman at a party can't help but take advantage of her. The teenage girl drinking underage at a fraternity house is basically advertising herself. The only man capable of committing heinous acts is the scary man who creeps in the alley preying on victim after victim. Whether male or female, the victim is the only person to blame.
The person most capable of preventing a sexual assault is the assaulter," Munch said, sharing that vulnerability only occurs when there is someone who chooses to take advantage of another person. "There's a double standard, and we live it day in and day out. ... Culture is paying the price in allowing the Unnamed Conspirator" to succeed.
Munch encouraged leaders to know what they are up against with regard to cultural bias in sexual assault and to take action to shift the focus away from a victim's or potential victim's behavior to the offender's behavior.
"I just want you to make that law keep its promise," Munch said. If you allow the jokes or the playful touching, be aware that "the climate you set directly affects the environment in your unit."