Sexual harassment, assault has no place in our ranks
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JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (April 21, 2014) -- April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, and it's a great time to talk about the Army's top priority: the elimination of sexual harassment and sexual assault throughout our ranks. Every member of the Joint Base San Antonio community -- military and civilians -- should be well aware that the Army harbors zero tolerance for sexual harassment and assault.

It is only through our joint efforts that we can create an environment where inappropriate behavior, sexual harassment and sexual assault are no longer tolerated or ignored. Standing as one team, we can eliminate this insidious threat from our offices and organizations while creating a climate where dignity and respect persist.

We all have an obligation to do our parts to hold offenders appropriately accountable. Commanders must ensure individuals who are sexually harassed or assaulted can report the crime without fear of intimidation, harassment or reprisal. We owe it to our teammates to foster a climate of trust that respects that protects our uniformed, civilians and family members. Prevention of sexual harassment and sexual assault is everyone's responsibility. Commanders must lead by example and establish a climate of prevention.

Those of us who serve and work in the Army have taken Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention training, and must continue to take this education seriously. Part of the Army's strategy to eliminate the threat of sexual assault and harassment in our ranks is the "I. A.M. Strong" campaign. This campaign is designed to empower Soldiers and Army civilians to "Intervene, Act and Motivate." It offers recommendations for intervening to stop harmful behaviors associated with sexual harassment. All of us should have at our core an ingrained, values-based "gut reaction" to intervene to stop inappropriate behaviors that may lead to sexual harassment and sexual assault.

The bottom line is that sexual harassment and sexual assault are inconsistent with our Army's values and have no place in our ranks. One incident is one too many. If you see it happening, remember it is your responsibility to intervene and act.

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Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Gabbert