By Army Public AffairsFebruary 6, 2009
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Feb. 6, 2009) -- Help is on the way for commanders who are launching sexual harassment and assault prevention programs at the battalion level.
The Army's newly restructured Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention, or SHARP office, has begun distributing "I. A.M. Strong" sexual assault prevention information kits to Army commanders. I. A.M. stands for "intervene, act, motivate."
The intent of the "I. A.M. Strong" kits is to provide commanders materials that promote Soldier awareness of the "I. A.M. Strong" campaign to promote the prevention of sexual harassment and sexual assault.
The kits contain a Commander's Guide, Leader's How-To Guide, brochures and wallet cards for each Soldier, a DVD, poster series, and banners. The DVD portrays real victims and real accounts of sexual assault from female Soldiers.
"Personal involvement of all leaders and soldiers is necessary for successful prevention efforts," said Maj. Gen. John R. Hawkins III, the Army G-1's director of Human Resources Policy. "All leaders, military and Army Civilian, must maintain an environment that rejects sexual assault and attitudes and behaviors that promote such acts."
Hawkins said the "I. A.M Strong" kits give leaders and Soldiers the tools they need to ensure each individual understands his or her role in combating this crime.
After the initial distribution of kits is completed, commanders will be able to order replacement kit items through an on-demand replenishment Web site.
Battalion-level sexual harassment and assault prevention programs are part of an Army-wide effort over the next five years to change Army culture to encourage reporting of incidents and stamp out sexual assault within the ranks.
In 2007, the number of sexual assaults in the Army was twice that of its sister services. The program intends to ensure a cultural about-face: to transform Army climate and become the model for the nation in prevention of sexual harassment and assault, officials said.
The Army launched its "I A.M. Strong" campaign at a sexual assault prevention summit in September 2008. To better realize the goals of already-established prevention and response programs, the Secretary of the Army approved the reorganization of the Department of the Army's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, now called the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Division, or SHARP office, which has assumed the Prevention of Sexual Harassment missions formerly run by Army Equal Opportunity and Equal Employment Opportunity offices to prevent duplication of efforts and resources.
"We're on the offensive to stop the crime of sexual assault before it even happens," said Nathan F. Evans, Army Sexual Harassment/ Assault Response and Prevention program and policy analyst. "Commanders at all levels have been charged to aggressively implement their command's 'I. A.M. Strong' prevention program," Evans said.
More information on the Army's sexual harassment and assault response and prevention program may be found at www.preventsexualassault.army.mil.