The Army is taking aggressive measures to put a stop to sexual harassment and sexual assault, but further action is still necessary, according to Army surveys.

Through the Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention Program, or SHARP, response and prevention efforts are continuously monitored to make sure that every member of the Army is respected.

"The Army's portion of the Department of Defense Annual Report on Sexual Assault for fiscal year 2012 shows increasing effectiveness in combating sexual assault," said Carolyn Collins, SHARP director. "However, we realize there's still more work to be done to combat sexual violence. The Army will continue to work with DoD to ensure Army efforts align with the DoD strategy and the secretary of Defense initiatives."

On May 7, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel directed the execution of the DoD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, or SAPR, Strategic Plan, specifying various measures to increase accountability for commanders. The goal is to establish command climates "of dignity and respect and incorporating SAPR prevention and victim-care principles" within their commands, according to www.army.mil.

Among the initiatives included in the plan, "Ensuring Appropriate Command Climate" was required for immediate implementation, which involves comprehensive visual inspections of all Army workplaces, barracks and common areas.

Workplaces consist of all areas where Soldiers, Department of the Army civilians, contractors or volunteers are required to perform assigned duties and/or training. These places will include, but are not limited to, exchanges, food courts, conference centers, gyms, Army vehicles, vessels, aircraft and other public places.

During these inspections, commanders and directors will order the removal of any items that are in violation of Army Regulation 600-20, which include digital, printed, or other openly displayed media that is sexually-oriented, sexually degrading or sexually offensive. For detailed guidance of inappropriate materials, refer to AR 600-20, chapter 7.

Stacy Picciano, Fort Huachuca garrison SHARP sexual assault response coordinator, explained that the DoD's goal is a culture free of sexual assault and sexual harassment through an environment of prevention, education and training, response capability, victim support, reporting procedures and appropriate accountability, which will enhance the safety and well being of everyone within the DoD.

"Measures must be put into place to meet that goal and to achieve an appropriate command climate," she said. "Sexually oriented, sexually degrading or sexually offensive materials that are in plain view of others create a degrading and offensive work environment and must be removed. There is no room in our military for sexual harassment or sexual assault. We must promote an environment of dignity and respect, and if this is what it takes, then this is what we will do."

The Army is working not only as a team, but as a Family, to ensure every member is provided this dignity and respect. Service members who violate an order to get rid of offensive materials are subject to punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Page last updated Fri June 14th, 2013 at 00:00