The number of reported incidents of sexual assault in the military’s ranks continues to soar.
Earlier this year the Department of Defense reported the number of sexual assaults at service academies rose from 507 in 2016 to 747 in 2018, a 47 percent spike. In 2018 at the Air Force Academy, 15.1 percent of women reported incidents of sexual assault.
A report by DoD’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office estimated that the number of assaults in the military in FY2018 rose to approximately 20,500, a 38 percent spike from 2016 — and a trend that led the Department of Defense to officially declare sexual harassment a criminal offense.
So it may come as a surprise — or perhaps not given the prevalence of such a stain on the military — that military personnel at the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program at Washington state’s McChord Field circulated 24-hour hotline posters featuring a happy-go-lucky cartoon skunk that read, “Sexual Assault Stinks."
Because nothing says “We’re here for you in your most dire hour of need” like Looney Toons’ Pepé Le Pew (who was notorious for dishing out heinous unwanted attention).
Misplacing car keys “stinks.” Sexual assault? Do better.
Facebook users on the popular Air Force amn/nco/snco Facebook page, where the post was shared, were quick to call out the poster for making light of an increasingly grave concern.
“As someone who has spent way too much time of my life in the SAPR office I get you are trying to be cute, and it is, but that’s the problem," one Facebook user wrote. "The topic isn’t cute. It’s serious and raw and should be treated with the according level of respect.”
“This is painful to look at. Who really thought that’d be a good idea,” another commented.
It should never be this difficult to avoid tripping over one’s own feet.
Jon Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.