Army Secretary demands culture change, launches campaign on sexual assault and sexual harassment, co
September 8, 2008
The Army is conducting a Sexual Assault Prevention and Risk Reduction training summit Sept. 9-12 in Alexandria, Va., to introduce senior leaders and their sexual assault prevention program managers to a new campaign to prevent sexual assaults and sexual harassment and make the Army's program the national model for prevention.
"Sexual assault is a crime that is repugnant to the core values that define our Army," said Secretary of the Army Pete Geren. "Soldiers who live the Army values must not only never commit the crimes of assault or sexual harassment but must actively work to rid our Army of these crimes. It is a Soldier's duty to protect his fellow Soldier from harm--on the battlefield, in the barracks, on-post or off."
"At this summit, we are launching Phase One-leadership commitment to the new campaign," Geren said. "Phase Two includes education and training of Soldiers to ensure they understand their moral responsibility to intervene, stop sexual assault and sexual harassment, and protect their comrades," Geren added.
"In Phase Three our goal is the establishment of an Army culture that drives the twin crimes of sexual assault and harassment from our Army. The final phase will grow and sustain the program through engagement and program refinement. Our goal is to eliminate sexual harassment and sexual assault from the Army and make the Army sexual assault prevention program a model for the rest of the nation," he said.
Geren is calling on Army leaders to develop and promote a command climate of zero tolerance for gender-based crimes--in attitude, word and deed--and establish a culture that sets an example for America that sexual harassment and any attitudes or activities that foster or allow sexual harassment and assault to happen will not be tolerated.
"The Army will launch new initiatives, create the right climate, and prosecute Soldiers and Army Civilians who don't live up to the standards to which our Army holds our people," Geren said. "We intend to prevent sexual assault, not just respond to the tragedy of sexual assault. We will be the nation's model in how to prevent sexual assault."
As part of the summit, the Army will be launching its I.A.M. Strong program. Rooted in Army values, I.A.M. Strong demonstrates appropriate intervention behaviors to those confronted by a situation that may lead to a sexual assault. The acronym stands for Intervene, Act and Motivate (I.A.M. Strong) and will give Soldiers the tools they need to stop sexual assaults.
The Army implemented the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program in 2004 as part of the Army's effort to eradicate sexual assault through training, prevention, education and awareness programs. When prevention measures fail, victims are assured that a system is in place to provide responsive, caring support while holding offenders accountable.
"I will know this program is a success when we eradicate sexual assault. Every Soldier and every Army Civilian must be repulsed by sexual assault and compelled to act," said Geren.
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