Many of us seem to have adapted into a culture of immediate gratification.  Whether it is fast food, instant credit, or simply seeking information; we want what we want and we want it NOW!  This statement couldn’t be truer when it comes to sex.  For example, look at the incident that occurred in Steubenville, Ohio earlier this year, where high school football players sexually assaulted a girl so intoxicated that she couldn’t stand up by herself.  Or any of the many stories of servicemembers doing similar acts to their fellow brothers or sisters in arms depicted in “The Invisible War”.

These stories paint a clear picture of how we have forgotten how to ask for something and waiting to get the answer, “yes” before going any further.

After looking at the 3,374 cases of sexual assault reported last year within the military services, you begin to see a pattern.

Some seem to believe that if you can get someone drunk enough and they don’t (or can’t) say “no,” then that is consensual sex.  It does not appear that these individuals are looking for a clear “yes”.

Is it that they have forgotten how to see people as anything other than objects?  Something they can discard like an empty fast food container. This is not “hooking up.”  This is not “a one night stand.”  This is rape — clear and simple. It is a repulsive act that will destroy individuals and eat away at the fabric that holds our Army together.

Month after month, reports continue to surface of yet another young Soldier going to a party in the hopes of “hooking up.” However, by the end of the weekend, they end up being the subject of an investigation involving a sexual assault.

How is that you might ask?  Well, it looks something like this.  The Soldier arrives at a club or party and begins drinking and notices someone they’re interested in looking like they may have had too much to drink.  Soon people start to crash for the evening. At some point the Soldier notices the individual slipping off into a back room and the Soldier follows them.   The next morning the victim wakes up, possibly with their clothes missing and they feel physically violated.  They struggle to recall the events of the previous evening.

Over the next few hours, with the help of friends and a maybe a few text messages, they piece things together.

The key word when discussing sexual assault is CONSENT or in other words- getting permission.  In the military, we understand the maturity and discipline you have to have before pulling the trigger.  No one goes to the range and simply just starts firing at will unless they have been given permission to do so from the tower.

When conducting airborne operations, no one exits an aircraft on a red light.  They are disciplined enough to wait until given permission from the jumpmaster and they give the command of “green light, go!”  So why do we find it so difficult to get permission from someone we want to have sex with before putting our paratrooper out the door?

I remember a time when I was growing up being told that, “No means no!”  Today this slogan appears to have been twisted in some minds to mean something completely different.  The culture needs to change. We need to stop trying to come up with ways to avoid getting a “no.”  We need to stop operating under the mindset that it’s better to ask for forgiveness than get permission.  It is time for each of us to take responsibility when it comes to sex and get a clear and sober “Yes” every time.