SHARP in the Army: Addressing Assault and Fostering Change.
Confronting Military Sexual Harassment & Assault
The issue of sexual harassment and assault brings up thoughts of aberrant behavior and generally negative feelings, no matter if you are in civilian or military life. In the United States Army, the behavior and such thought among respected and sometimes revered service members might seem absurd. However, news headlines and revealing articles show that sexual harassment is a serious issue in the Military. The Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program was put into place to help spread knowledge on how to prevent these incidences and how to provide help for those in need.
Understanding Perpetrator Dynamics in Sexual Assault
Many aspects happen to the occurrence of sexual assaults. It is important to understand that perpetrators, not victims are responsible for sexual assault happening. Offenders have a strong sense of entitlement and use power and control to perform acts of sexual assault. For example, the department’s annual report on sexual assault in the Military estimated that there were 20,500 instances of “unwanted sexual contact” in the 2018 fiscal year on a survey of men and women across the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. That was an increase of 38% from the last survey in 2016, according to the New York Times.
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Fostering Internal Motivation for Cultural Change
SHARP aims to step toward the goal of speaking up, but the motivation must come from the individual service member. We cannot rely on any number of briefs or presentations about what is appropriate and what is not proper; discrepancy has to come from inside our formations. Every member of the organization has to believe that reporting sexual assault or harassment is the correct thing to do in the organization. If we can insert the idea of right and wrong and break the norm of silence, we can finally move forward and push our organization to strive for new goals and create a balanced working natural environment. The belief is that the SHARP program will stop sexual harassment and assaults. I believe that the more we train and learn about prevention, the more service members can decrease incidents within the ranks.
Persevering Against Sexual Assault
In all, sexual assault incidents will continue to happen, and the Military will create new solutions and techniques to train to stop these incidents. Having the knowledge of how to assess and solve the problem will only be realized and acquired through the SHARP training we get from time to time. Use your ability to recognize possible negative circumstances and report them to the proper channels. Be the battle buddy that looks out for the well-being of your colleagues. Never leave a fallen comrade. Produce and promote that positive atmosphere, whether it is in the field, in garrison, or off-duty.
- U.S. Army. “The Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) Program.” Accessed from: https://www.army.mil/SHARP/
- The New York Times. “Sexual Assault Reports in Military Rise to 20,500, Pentagon Says.” Published on April 29, 2019. Accessed from: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/29/us/politics/military-sexual-assault.html