Army launches Sexual Assault Prevention Campaign
September 10, 2008
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept. 10, 2008) -- The Army is conducting a Sexual Assault Prevention and Risk Reduction training summit for leaders across the force this week in Alexandria, Va.
Secretary of the Army Pete Geren spoke at the SAPR Summit Tuesday morning, officially launching the ArmyAca,!a,,cs new Sexual Assault Prevention Campaign and Strategy. Part of the new campaign is the Aca,!A"I. A.M. StrongAca,!A? program designed to empower Soldiers to "Intervene, Act, and Motivate" to prevent sexual assault.
"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."
The Army implemented the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program in 2004 as part of an effort to eradicate sexual assault through training, prevention, education and awareness programs. Unit victim advocates and installation sexual assault response coordinators were trained to ensure that when prevention measures failed, victims were assured that a system was in place to provide responsive, caring support while holding offenders accountable.
To help remove barriers to reporting sexual assault, the Army instituted a key change in policy, allowing Aca,!A"restricted reporting.Aca,!A? Victims could seek help without every member of the chain of command launching an investigation. Victims could file a confidential report, receive the medical treatment and counseling they need, without launching an investigation.
Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr. addressed the SAPR Summit Wednesday morning. "I want to be clear that it is our duty as leaders to set the climate and conditions which leave no doubt that such behavior has no place in our ranks," he said.
(Hank Minitrez, G-1, and Dawn Deardon contributed to this report.)