I bet you didn’t realize that this photograph depicts a horrible act of assault. Or does it?
All these years, you looked at it as an iconic symbol of the end of World War II. You might have assumed it showed jubilation, happiness, and a bit of lighthearted and n0-offense-ma’am fun. Little did you realize that it really stands for something else, maybe.
As the folks at CAAFlog show, today’s military sexual assault laws leave the door open to prosecution.
If this kiss happened today it would be chargeable as a rape under Article 120, UCMJ (10 U.S.C. § 920):
(a) Rape. Any person subject to this chapter who commits a sexual act upon another person by—
(1) using unlawful force against that other person;
. . .
is guilty of rape and shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.
(g) Definitions. In this section:
(1) Sexual act. The term ‘sexual act’ means—
. . .
(B) the penetration, however slight, of the . . . mouth of another by any part of the body or by any object, with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, or degrade any person or to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.
Lack of consent is not an element, intoxication is not a defense, and the maximum authorized punishment for such a rape is imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole.
UPDATE: I almost forgot. Conviction of this particular crime also results in mandatory offender registration in every state. That’s a feature.