With the news lately focusing on the horrible problem of sexual assault in the military, it may be difficult for church leaders, and Christians in general, to figure out how to reach the military. Sexual assault is not something the church often deals with. Ironically, until a few years ago, the military didn't really deal with it either. It was sort of the elephant in the room. People knew it happened, but the programs hadn't really matured enough to do anything about it. I'm grateful that better programs exist today to combat the problem.
The thing that makes me most angry about the issue is that it's almost always blue on blue, meaning that it’s a Sailor hurting a Sailor, Marine hurting a Marine, etc. That, my good friends, is unsatisfactory!
President Obama's present concern over the level of sexual assaults in the military, and the number of congressional hearings on the matter (which I discuss here), mean that the problem is now really coming to the light. The church can assist, but it must do so carefully.
First, Christians must know that it's not the victim's fault. Really, it doesn't matter what happened up to the point of being assaulted. If an assault occurs, then the attacker committed a crime. It doesn't matter what the victim was wearing. If you are one to assume that the victim somehow deserved what happened to him/her, then you are wrong.
Second, know that it doesn't just happen to women. In fact, more attacks are against men. That makes sense from a purely statistical standpoint. With 80% of the force being men (for the Navy), it only makes sense that the majority, while not an overwhelming one, of attacks would be against men.
Third, since these attacks are criminal in nature, Christians cannot get overly involved in the physical sense. I had a Sailor once who was violently attacked. I still don't know the whole story. She got the help she needed, her attacker was brought up on charges, and she eventually returned to my basic electronics class and graduated. However, my role was just to be there. I couldn't do anything else.
Point three brings me to my fourth and final point. The main mission of the church is evangelism (in my opinion based on scripture). However, in this case, the battle ground is in prayer. Prayer of course should be peppered onto every facet of life, but it is the primary battleground in terms of sexual assault in the military. I know that I talk about prayer a lot. I am always asking for prayer on behalf of the military. That isn't going to change any time soon. In the case of sexual assaults in the military, it may be the only way the church can respond.
Please do so.