SIUE ROTC, CAS programs team up to combat rape culture through panel discussion

Army Lt. Col. David Motes perceives the rape culture within the U.S. problematic, and he, SIUE’s ROTC and CAS programs will address an audience with new approaches to combat sexual assault.

Army Lt. Col. David Motes is organizing a panel discussion,"Sexual Assault in the Military: A 2015 Perspective" which will take place next Monday. Photo courtesy of Howard Ash.

“You see it in music videos, hear about it happening among high school athletes or hear things about universities across the U.S.,” Motes said. “Our efforts right now are essentially the same: address the cultures and the behavior as a whole, and the military and university administration are fighting the same issues.”

On Monday, April 6, from noon-1:15, a panel discussion on “Sexual Assault in the Military: a 2015 Perspective” will take place in the MUC, Hickory-Hackberry room. The event is being co-sponsored by the SIUE Women’s Studies programs, ROTC and Peace Studies programs.

Motes, SIUE’s military science Department Chair will bring guest panelists in from Scott Air Force Base located in Shiloh. Among them will be Army Capt. Molly Reisman, also an attorney for the army who serves within the judge advocate branch. Roughly five Army personnel will address questions about sexual assault in the military, and how recently, more effective intervention involves changing the culture about rape.

Motes said the panelists will share their experiences dealing with these issues within their institution, and how things have changed the last couple of years in handling offenses, for instance.

Catherine Seltzer, SIUE Women’s Studies program director, said the military is now working to change the system to help survivors of sexual assault.

This is the third year that the programs have worked together to sponsor panels on the topic, and Seltzer notes that they have attracted large audiences in the past.

“We find we have a lot of very human stories even when we’re talking about larger structures,” Seltzer said. “The military, like any institution, is ultimately a collection of people.”

Motes said the panel is a little different each year, but next Monday’s discussion will consist of a “question and answer period.”

“Reisman should be able to provide updates to changes in how we go after sexual offenders in the military the past three years,” Motes said. “Procedures have changed such as who investigates a sexual assault in the Army.”

Motes stated that in the past the Army focused on prevention and focused on response, but they never addressed changing the culture of thinking about rape.

“But now we are,” Motes said. “What we’re doing at the university is in line with what we are doing at the military as well.”

Motes added the institutions are unified with the ability to address this but it is not an easy thing.

“Everybody understands this. It’s got to be addressed at a cultural level,” Motes said.

Motes said by adjusting behavior—that is—for a person to intervene as a bystander such as at a party or anywhere, that that is not easy to teach.

“Many people are unsure about doing it. We’re trying to teach our cadets that it’s their responsibility to get involved when they see something is not right,” Motes said.

We’re fighting the same issues and working the same path,” Motes said. “I’ve tried to partner with the university in terms of sexual assault awareness on campus by attending campus meetings on sexual assault.”

The panelists will also talk about the movie, “The Invisible War,” which will have been viewed by the groups of attendees who sponsored the event. “The Invisible War” an award-winning documentary about sexual assault in the U.S. military, was released in June 2012.

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