By Staff Sgt. Aimee Millham, U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs OfficeFebruary 26, 2009
HEIDELBERG, Germany - U.S. Army Europe leaders are encouraging Soldiers to get more actively involved in preventing sexual abuse.
"Part of being Soldiers and leaders is having the personal courage to take action when your fellow Soldiers are in danger. If you see something wrong, intervene," said Gen. Carter F. Ham, U.S. Army Europe commander.
Ham's message falls in line with the Army's "I.A.M. Strong" campaign launched in September, which shifts the focus of the sexual assault prevention program from reaction to prevention, and is designed to empower Soldiers to "Intervene, Act and Motivate," said Rosalind Dennis, USAREUR sexual assault prevention and response coordinator.
The new strategy is designed to change the Army's culture and encourage Soldiers to not "be bystanders" if they become aware of abusive situations, she added.
"This command must eliminate sexual assault, and we must do it together," Ham said.
The Army News Service reported that in announcing the program at the Army's 2008 Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers conference, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston also appealed to Soldiers to get involved.
"I need your help with an issue that is affecting our Soldiers -- sexual assault," Preston said.
"We've been on the defensive concerning this crime - and it is a criminal act," the sergeant major added. "The Army was focused on response. Now, we're going on the offensive. We're implementing a new prevention campaign."
The plan for USAREUR includes expanding prevention and intervention programs and introducing new programs to its Soldiers, Dennis explained.
Efforts began in December when USAREUR senior leaders received an overview presentation of training that is being developed for Soldiers to participate in this year as part of the new initiative.
In January, U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern hosted more than 800 Soldiers for briefings on the new campaign.
And in March Ham is hosting a one-day training event for USAREUR senior leaders to hear from subject-matter experts in the field of sexual assault prevention and intervention, Dennis said. In addition, the new programs are likely to be a major topic of discussion at USAREUR's annual sexual assault prevention and response conference later this year.
Dennis said these are the beginnings of a robust training timeline her team will undertake this fiscal year based on a "community of responsibility" model that outlines the role of each community member in efforts to prevent sexual assault.
As part of the I.A.M. Strong initiative, the Army launched a dedicated sexual assault prevention Web site that provides an overview of the program and offers information, training and other resources for preventing and reporting sexual abuse and sexual harassment. The site can be found at www.sexualassault.army.mil.