The Sexual Harassment and Assault Response Program reinforces the Army’s commitment to eliminate incidence of sexual harassment and sexual assault through a focus and concerted effort that includes prevention, training and education, victim advocacy, response, reporting and accountability. The goal of the program is to foster a culture where all soldiers, family members, and DoD civilians and contractors treat each other with dignity and respect, and where members of our military community can leave free of the threat of sexual harassment and sexual assault.
Sexual harassment is usually a precursor to sexual assault and involves unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when it interferes with an individual’s with job performance, promotion, and pay, or when it contributes to the creation of a hostile work environment. On the other, hand Sexual assault is the intentional sexual contact characterize by the use of force, physical threat, of abuse of authority, or when the victim does not or cannot consent. It can occur without regard to gender, spousal relationship, or age of victim.
Sexual assault occurs in the army because of soldier access to drug and alcohol consumption. According to a report its estimate that 26,000 service members experienced “unwanted sexual contact” that includes rape, attempted rape and unwanted sexual touching out of which 12,100 were women and 13900 were men. Majority of this incidents involved drugs and alcohol consumption. (FRONTLINE: by Sarah Childress).
Sexual assault is a criminal offense punishable by state laws and the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). The Department of the Army’s position on sexual assault is that it is incompatible with the Army’s high standards of professionalism, discipline, and Army values, and will not be tolerated among the ranks. Sexual harassment, a precursor to sexual assault, will also not be tolerated. A climate that promotes this message is to be encouraged by Soldiers, DoD Civilian and contractors.
There are two types of reporting options. Soldiers and Family members, 18 years of age and older, are eligible for SHARP assistance and for restricted and unrestricted reporting options. The restricted (confidential) reporting option allow eligible individuals who have been sexually assaulted to get medical attention, to include a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE), advocacy assistances and counseling without triggering an official investigation. In order to file a restricted report, victims can only speak to Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARC) or SHARP Victim Advocates (VA), Medical Treatment Facility and Chaplain.
For Unrestricted reporting individuals who want to access services and hold the offender accountable. It triggers law enforcement and command involvement. Individuals can file an unrestricted report by speaking to SARCs or Vas, MTF Staff, Law Enforcement, and command.
Bystander intervention can reduce the risk of sexual assault and harassment by implementing standard prevention procedure. Measure safety not just assault. It means military leaders must change norms, not just administer justice. Training and education, victim advocacy, response, reporting and accountability.
We all have a responsibility to report sexual harassment and sexual assault as proud members of the army team, our values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage compel to say “NO” to sexual harassment and sexual assault. As members of our Army community, we must work together to eradicate the problem. We are duty bound to intervene, act and motivate. Each one of us should stand up and say “I AM THE FORCE BEHIND THE FIGHT.”