A look at the problems of rape and sexual assault at the Air Force Academy. A new Colorado Springs Gazette article helps me to understand my false accusation more and realize that the false accusation was a tactic, a common one it appears in an un-healthy military academy culture. It also leads me to ask another question…is Eric Simmons Redeemer Arlington a rape culture? If a graduate from the Air Force Academy swimming in allegations of sexual misconduct calls SGM healthy, does Redeemer share the same cultural problems as the Air Force Academy?
“In the service, kicking someone out for nondisability mental disorder is a quick way to get rid of someone,” Darehshori says. “Many commanders do not view the rape victim as someone they want to support. The person is seen as a troublemaker.“
Sara Darehshori of Human Rights Watch
“So often survivors have had their experiences denied, trivialized, or distorted. Writing is an important avenue for healing because it gives you the opportunity to define your own reality.”
The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked,
but the prayer of the upright pleases him.
Proverbs 15:8 NIV
Eric Simmons teaching at Redeemer Arlington in its early days.
The United States Air Force Academy has always been an incredibly prestigious school, that has had a dark shadow loom over it for years. The issue that has haunted this military academy is that of sexual assault. In January of 2003 the Secretary of the Air Force, as well as Colorado Senators Wayne Allard and Ben Nighthorse Campbell and others received an anonymous email that alleged that rape and sexual assault were a major problem at the Air Force Academy. The Air Force (USAF) investigated the allegations and what was uncovered was deeply troubling. 12% of the women who graduated from the Academy in 2003 were victims of rape or attempted rape. Of the 659 women who were enrolled at the Academy at the time 70% of 579 women alleged that they had been sexually harassed, and others reported that they dealt with “pressure for sexual favors.” 19% of those surveyed claimed that they were victims of sexual assault. And then 7% of said that the assault was in the form of rape or attempted rape. What came out in the scandal is that some upper class man were using alcohol to blackmail young cadets under the age of 21. Some of the assaults occurred while the cadets were intoxicated. What made the situation worse is that the leadership tried to cover it up, then deal with the problem. The Superintendent of the Academy John Dallager was demoted to major general for the scandal. Its important you hear this fact because this will play into this post shortly. Victims of sexual assault were encouraged to use counseling which was to be anonymous. If you would like to read more about this scandal you can do so here.
The problems with rape at the Air Force Academy continued after that disturbing scandal. In 2014 the Colorado Springs Gazette broke another disturbing story that detailed how athletes in the Air Force Academy were committing sexual assault, taking drugs, cheating and engaging in other nefarious activities. This activity dated to 2010 and continued for the next few years. To read the report in detail you can do so in “Broken Code: AFA superintendent calls for investigation of athletic transgressions.” Problems with sexual assault and other issues only continued. Recently the Colorado Springs-Gazette broke another disturbing story that came forward.
More Disturbing Allegations in the Colorado Springs-Gazette
Recently the Colorado Springs Gazette published some further allegations involving the Air Force Academy. In the allegations that came out it discussed a culture that came down on sexual assault victims that characterized them as “sluts or nuts.” In the process the Air Force Academy allegedly used confidential counseling sessions to hit cadets with mental health diagnosis and force the sexual assault victims out of the Academy. The mental health diagnosis appear to be false or greatly exaggerated and allegedly is a way that the Academy deals with those who report sexual assault allegations. By questioning the victim’s mental health the person making the report is re-victimized and discredited. Its led some people to regret going to the Air Force Academy for assistance and help. By labeling people who report sex crimes mentally ill it has perpetuated a stigma that already exists. Retaliation is part of the Air Force Academy culture and the modus operandi. Not only that but Human Rights Watch has long written about how the United States military goes after sexual assault victims in acts of retaliation. You can read more about that here. To read the newest reporting by the Colorado Springs Gazette on how the Academy allegedly uses confidential counseling to get rid of victims, you can read about that in “Sexual assault victims say Air Force Academy uses mental health counseling to get rid of them.”
New Insight into a False Accusation
My story deals with Eric Simmons and Jordan Kauflin’s Redeemer Arlington. An Air Force Captain who graduated from the Air Force Academy who tried to get me involved in Redeemer. We clashed, as I was in a faith crisis and into Christopher Hitchens at the time. On May 8, 2013 Andrew gave birth to a false accusation in which it was claimed that I was a threat to his family. I was spoken to about stalking. That stunned me because shortly before the false accusation, Andrew invited me into his home. He made a ham and cheese sandwich and asked me to change his internet password for his sexual purity purposes. He was evangelizing me and when the false accusation hit I felt like I stepped in front of a freight train going at high speed. I had no idea what hit me. After all who invites a “stalker” into your home? Who asks a “stalker” to change your computer password? Or puts them up for a couple of days? When I saw how an Air Force Captain can abuse his power in the system he is in, I learned why rape and sexual assault are a problem in the military. You can read about my false accusation in “How I Managed a False Accusation Given Birth to by a USAF Captain and Care Group Leader from Redeemer Arlington for 408 Days.” The false accusation turned my world on its head. I struggle with trust. I struggle with friendships at times. I struggle with people in many ways. I recently spoke with someone who endured a false accusation and he gained a significant amount of weight in response to the situation. This blog has taken me around quite a bit, from the D.C. area up to New Jersey, Pennsylvania and out to Kansas and the Midwest recently. This situation has popped up as unresolved.
There was one aspect to my false accusation that had long haunted me that I realized in reading that Colorado Springs Gazette story. Its what led to this post. It took me four years to get to this point and four years to realize something new. That is how traumatic the situation was. I was baffled and stunned as to why I was spoken to about stalking. Stalking is a serious crime, and a serious allegation and after it was hatched I spent fourteen months trying to downplay the allegation. I also spent time banging my brain on how someone could do such a 180 with very little warning at all. I spent a great amount of time trying to respond to the false accusation that I never realized that it was a tactic. I never thought of the false accusation as a tactic until I read how it was used in the Air Force Academy. At the Academy sexual assault victims had their credibility attacked. They had their mental health questioned. Likewise I had my mental health questioned. The false accusation was a tactic of a military officer who came out of an Academy where sexual assault was a serious problem. Did Andrew do this false accusation to others? So in the end this was a tactic by an Air Force Officer who gave birth to the false accusation when he realized that I was not going to go to Redeemer Arlington. Andrew had his sites on another co-worker but to spend time with that person he had to give birth to the claim that I was a threat. That was what Jordan Kaulfin’s protege did to me after close to a year of proselyting. It stuns me that it took this long to realize and learn something that up until now I never even considered. I was so consumed in trying to prove the false accusation wrong. But that leads me to ask another question that is about the culture of Redeemer Arlington.
Is Redeemer Arlington a Rape Culture?
Redeemer Arlington is very similar to Sovereign Grace Fairfax, now Redeeming Grace Church. That is not a surprise as a chunk of members came from Fairfax when Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) planted Redeemer Arlington. Jordan Kauflin and his father Bob were a part of Fairfax, with his father I believe leading the church at one point. To read more about the similarities about Sovereign Grace Fairfax and Redeemer Arlington you can read a post I wrote called, “How Healthy is Redeemer Arlington’s Culture? What About Other Former Sovereign Grace Ministries Churches? Should You Get Involved?”
But here is another question that needs to be asked. Does the leadership of Redeemer Arlington know what rape and sexual assault is? I ask this of Jordan Kauflin, Eric Simmons and Jon Smith for a specific reason. Those three individuals grew up or spent most of their life in SGM awash in that culture. They each have been Kool-Aid drinkers, in their own ways. Jordan Kauflin was a part of SGM “Royalty.” What that means is that since his father did music for SGM and was C.J. Mahaney’s right hand man. Jordan benefited from these family connections. All the Kauflin children did I believe. Jordan also benefited from those ties in getting into Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) without the proper credentials and academic background. After all I believe he went to the SGM Pastors College before going to SBTS. That would be akin to getting a degree from a diploma mill in the Dominican Republic and then going to a school such as George Mason University, City University of New York, or The George Washington University. But you have to remember that SGM was an organization that was a pressure cooker and one that drowned in allegations of child sex abuse and sexual assault. I would say that SGM was a rape culture, all you have to do is read story after story at SGM Survivors. So do Eric Simmons, Jon Smith or Jordan Kauflin know what sexual assault is? I honestly wonder if they do given the culture they have grown up in. Part of being in a bubble is that you are removed from the world, and while it probably was not intended, the reality is that is what happened. I am not trying to be sly, I am just thinking out loud.
But there is also another problem to consider as well in asking if Redeemer Arlington is a rape culture. Air Force Captain Andrew White came from the Air Force Academy. His family was steeped in it, as I believe his father taught nutritional science at the Academy and his family sponsored cadets when he was growing up. Andrew told me how those cadets inspired him to want to go to the Air Force Academy. Andrew was at the Air Force Academy during some of the most severe allegations of criminal activity. Culture defines and conforms people, and Andrew in order to thrive and do well was largely brainwashed and indoctrinated into that Air Force Academy culture. Andrew when he moved to the D.C. area was immediately drawn to the Sovereign Grace Ministry culture. Did Andrew find SGM attractive because he came from a military academy that drowned in a rape, sexual harassment and misconduct allegations? And was he attracted to a church culture that was drowning in allegations, criminal claims, and child sex abuse stories. After all Andrew knew about SGM Survivors and dismissed it. Did all the criminal allegations at SGM remind Andrew of the Air Force Academy culture? Was this even sub-conscious without him realizing it? Did Andrew have a hybrid faith of both Christianity and military culture that was merged together. SGM rewards perfectionism after all. Carolyn Mahaney I believe taught people how their kitchen counters are to be organized and how mail is not to be built up. That type of thinking goes along well with military academy culture where rooms are inspected and the smallest details are scrutinized. These are questions I am asking. As always the leadership of Redeemer Arlington can respond to these questions.
As I wind this post down at the Academy cadets are taught that they are not to lie, not to cheat, and not to steal. Those rules are obviously not meant to be followed in an Academy that is struggling with rape claims. These problems carry far beyond Colorado Springs, as graduates are carrying forward these problems which possibly have impacted me. Did Andrew act the way he did, and use his rank as a Captain in- appropriately in pulling off that false accusation? Was Andrew trained to do that at the Air Force Academy by upper classmen, and did he just do what he was taught? Those are questions that need to be asked. When Andrew graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2005 his parents took him to New York City to see The Lion King on Broadway. I remember when Andrew was talking and telling me about all this. Andrew gave up sports in high school in Colorado Springs to pursue his wife and work on a high school production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. So I will close this post out with Elton John singing Circle of Life. That’s it for the day Redeemer Arlington.