Bystander Intervention to Battle Sexual Assault/harassment in your Unit/10th Mountain Division/Army
IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING BECAUSE IT’S ON US. Bystander intervention is a strategy for the prevention of different types of violence, including sexual harassment and sexual assault. The fact that people will see something but not say anything based off of a reaction they get from others. Bystander intervention can battle sexual assault by increasing the awareness of all soldiers army wide and by encouraging them and showing them ways to interfere with sexual assault. It could also change the way soldiers feel about who can intervene in a situation.
Sexual assaults occur because most likely a soldier will see something and not report it. And for others, maybe they are honestly just not prepared, alert, or assertive. You can prepare yourself by traveling with someone, never leaving your car or barracks doors unlocked and watching your drink while you’re out. Being alert, you have to trust your instincts. Report any suspicious male/female you see in the barracks that are not authorized to be in there. If you feel that you are in danger, try to get help the best way you can. Pay attention to warning signs/red flags from your partner in particular situations. No means no, but how can someone take you seriously if you’re laughing while telling them no?
Bystander intervention can reduce the risk of sexual assault and harassment by taking the responsibility away from the victims. Usually, the victims are always asked questions like “What could you have done to prevent this?” or “Why didn’t you say anything before?” The responsibility will now fall on us, asking ourselves, “How could we let this happen as a Unit?” Men and women should be equal when it comes to preventing sexual assault. There are many ways to take a stand and not allow this to happen.
Sometimes female soldiers may feel that they are not able to intervene and that a male may be needed; especially if the aggressor is a male. That should never be the case when the Army’s slogan for the SHARP program is “I.A.M. STRONG.” I.A.M. STRONG stands for Intervene, Act, and Motivate. It is our duty as a soldier to use this campaign to stop sexual assaults and sexually offensive language or gestures.
It’s on us to end sexual violence in the military we have to continue to educate one another and pay attention to the SHARP training. We can’t be that soldier only to hear what was said in a briefing but didn’t listen. “In 2014, President Obama and Vice President Biden came together with leaders from all organizations to launch the “It’s On Us” campaign against sexual assault on college campuses.” (Samuel Merritt University, 2019) This same method ties into the I.A.M. STRONG campaign. We have to raise awareness and be sure to look out for those who can’t consent.
If you see something, say something. Sexual assaults occur from being unprepared, not alert, and not being assertive. Use bystander intervention to reduce the risks of the sexual assault and to help take the responsibility away from the victim. Let’s get on board with the many different campaigns and educate ourselves to prevent sexual assaults/harassments from occurring. “Sexual violence is not inevitable, it’s not something that must remain an unfortunate but expected reality, it’s not “boys will be boys” and “she was asking for it.” (Sandhu, 2016)
Army, H. D. (2014, November 6). Army Regulation 600-20. Retrieved from Army Pubs.
Sandhu, K. (2016, June 9). Sexual Violence Is Not Inevitable. Retrieved from It’s On Us: https://medium.com/@ItsOnUs/sexual-violence-is-not-inevitable-changing-the-conversation-about-sexual-assault-prevention-7c013fd961cf