By Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Jo Bridgwater, 7th Sustainment Brigade Public AffairsNovember 7, 2011
Soldiers of the Special Troops Battalion, 7th Sustainment Brigade are learning how to combat sexual harassment and assault by way of the Army's I. AM. Strong campaign, its objective: to combat sexual assaults by engaging all Soldiers in preventing sexual assaults before they occur.
"The training reinforces the Army's commitment to eliminate incidents of sexual harassment and assault through a comprehensive policy that centers on Awareness and prevention, training and education, victim advocacy, response, reporting and accountability," said Sgt. 1st Class Jason Moyer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, STB security Noncommissioned Officer in Charge, and STB SHARP instructor. "The intent of SHARP training is to make Soldiers aware of their responsibility to Intervene, Act and Motivate (I.A.M) others in eliminating sexual harassment and assault from the ranks."
The Army's SHARP program Web site stresses the role each Soldier has when it comes to the importance of prevention: As Soldiers and proud members of our Team, we are duty bound to Intervene, Act, and Motivate others to stop sexual assaults and the sexually offensive language and gestures that create an environment friendly to this abuse.
There are several drop down menus located on the Web site, providing guidance, and spelling out the Army's SHARP policy and regulations. Information includes: I have been sexually assaulted. What should I do? Reporting options (found under the Policy header), Training, and a Leaders header with instruction on: What can I do to prevent sexual assault in my unit, and What are my responsibilities when a sexual assault occurs in my unit?
When asked what he considers the most important part of SHARP training, Sgt. 1st Class Moyer said, "Soldiers need to understand that it begins with each individual Soldier to eliminate sexual innuendo, harassment and sexual assault from the ranks. When Soldiers or civilians say something to someone, when they make these types of remarks, or actions, they have to understand that it is wrong to talk or act that way toward others."
You may find yourself asking, is there a difference between sexual harassment, and sexual assault? According to the SHARP Web site, yes, there is, and it is defined as: Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination that involves unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
There are two types of sexual harassment. The first is Quid Pro Quo and refers to conditions placed on a person's career or terms of employment in return for sexual favors. It involves threats of adverse actions if the victim does not submit or promises of favorable actions if the person does submit. The second is defined as a Hostile Environment and occurs when a person is subjected to offensive, unwanted, and unsolicited comments and behavior of a sexual nature
that interferes with that person's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.
Sexual assault refers specifically to rape, forcible sodomy, indecent assault, or carnal knowledge as defined by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Sexual assault must involve physical contact. While sexual harassment can involve physical contact, it can also refer to verbal or other forms of gender discrimination of a sexual nature. Sexual assault is a crime punishable by the UCMJ.
Instruction on what to do if you are sexually assaulted is provided on the Web site and states: First, get to a safe place. If you are in need of urgent medical attention, call 911. If you are not injured, you still need medical assistance to protect your health. The Medical Treatment Facility offers you a safe and caring environment.
To protect evidence, it is important that you do not shower, brush your teeth, put on make-up, eat, drink, or change your clothes until advised to do so. You or the MTF may report the crime to law enforcement, criminal investigation agencies, or to your chain of command. If you feel uncomfortable reporting the crime, consider calling a confidential counseling resource available to you.
Another resource available for Soldiers, Airmen, and Family members is the Joint Base Langley-Eustis Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program.
Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program
Sexual Assault Phone: (757) 878-3725
24-Hour Advocate Hotline: (757) 268-8967
Hours: 24/7 Crisis Intervention & Support Services
"It is important for the victims of sexual harassment, and sexual assault to know they have someone who will take care of their needs, and that reporting the incident will ensure they are taken care of, even if the report is restricted," said Sgt. 1st Class Moyer. "The Army's statistics report that 59 percent of sexual assault is "Blue on Blue".
He added, "We need every Soldier, civilian and Family member helping to eradicate this problem. The Army requires SHARP training be conducted once a year, but extra training is always better. This command is dead set on elimination, and has zero tolerance on any sexual harassment or sexual assaults."
Information about the Army's SHARP program may be found by going to: http://www.sexualassault.army.mil/index.cfm
Additional information links found on the Web site include the Department of Defense Safe Helpline -- Sexual Assault Support for the DoD community: http://www.safehelpline.org// and the Army OneSource: http://www.safehelpline.org//
The Army OneSource serves American troops and their families, and is designed to help Soldiers and Family members deal with life's issues, 24-hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. You may call in and speak to a master's level consultant, or you may go online to access information, or email a consultant.
Phone numbers for Army OneSource: From US: 1-800-464-8107
International toll free: 800-464-81077 (dial all 11 numbers)
International collect: 484-530-5889