An Australian navy sailor convicted for digitally raping a female coworker while she was passed out is asking for leniency in his sentencing — because everyone was doing it.
Keith Calvert, 24, might have gotten away with his sexual assault on the woman had he not filmed himself doing it, even offering a thumbs-up to the camera. After all, she didn't remember it and knew nothing until someone told her they'd seen the video of her being raped. You might say that Calvert isn't just a criminal, but also a not very intelligent one, but it's the responsibility of his defense lawyer to say something altogether less plausible:
He said his client had joined the navy to make friends as he had been a loner growing up and was determined to fit into his new environment. "There was a culture of reporting, of bragging, of sexual exploits, that extended to revealing one's exploits by way of mobile phone footage," Mr Sexton told the County Court hearing.
Mr Sexton said the filming was not so much a "frolic of his (Calvert's) own, but an alcohol-fuelled product of the environment that he experienced".
We won't disagree with Mr. Sexton about the noxious culture that can be found in redoubts of traditional masculinity, or the existence of peer pressure. The Australian military in particular is being called out by women in its ranks; over 1,000 different complaints were lodged after a separate scandal in which cadets secretly filmed a female colleague having sex and broadcast it on the Internet. The investigating committee was so swamped, it asked for an extension.
But that's an explanation, not an excuse.