25th ID takes aim at sexual assault, harassment
April 26, 2010
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (April 26, 2010) -- The 25th Infantry Division is recognizing National Sexual Assault Awareness Month by continuing the Army's program against sexual harassment and assault, and by encouraging leaders, Soldiers and family members to intervene wherever and whenever necessary.
In line with the Army "I. A.M Strong" campaign, the division is working on changing the way Soldiers and family members view sexual harassment and assault. The divison is implementing an aggressive plan of prevention and education, according to 25th ID Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Leota. The goal, he said, is to educate Soldiers and family members so they can prevent it from happening.
"On the prevention side, additional lighting has gone up all over base, and there are more staff duty doing more checks," Leota said. "On the education side, we are having seminars and noncommissioned officer professional development to increase awareness of sexual harassment and assault information, knowledge and education."
Representatives from the division's Equal Opportunity office recently attended a Department of the Army-sponsored summit on sexual harassment and assault. The division's EO office is launching a program that emphasizes to training personnel how to help sexual assault victims during weekly meetings with unit victim advocates.
"This training includes sharing best practices in preventing sexual assault; techniques, tactics and procedures in terms of admin, and training personnel in getting information out - who to call, where to call, what to do when victims of sexual assault come forward," said Lt. Col. Patrick Guzman, the 25th ID's equal opportunity program manager, and sexual assault response and prevention program manager.
The Department of Defense theme for Sexual Assault Awareness Month is "Hurts one, Affects all; Preventing sexual assault is everyone's duty." The theme focuses on Army values that Soldiers live by every day.
"(The) 25th ID's plan is to build that conviction, to stay in the momentum, and to change the culture," Guzman explained. "I absolutely believe because of the 'I A.M. Strong' campaign, more victims are coming forward and reporting sexual assault or harassment."
A big part of the program is educating commanders and Soldiers on what to do to prevent sexual assault and reinforcing Army values and making sure there is good leadership training.
"Having the program in place, and having leaders reinforce the message, is the key to our success," Leota said. "Conditions will change, but standards do not. The leadership is responsible for this program and (for) making sure that all of our Soldiers, every single one of them, are safe and have the confidence, the trust and the faith of leaders to take care of them. "That is a leadership responsibility, and through this program, we can achieve that," Leota emphasized.