Every 98 seconds, another American is sexually assaulted. It is a plague on our society and within our military. The Department of Defense is constantly revising and implementing new ideas and plans to intervene and prevent sexual assault from occurring. It is vital to keep soldiers informed and knowledgeable about sexual assault awareness throughout their career so as to have an effective and strong team to ensure safety within our nations fighting force.
There is no one specific reason that sexual assault occurs, each situation is different. The most important thing to remember is that it is the perpetrator’s, not the victim’s, fault. However, for a long time this was one of many theories that existed; that the victim somehow encouraged the abuser, whether by wearing something enticing or even friendly conversation. Other theories included abuse during childhood, mental illness, and the idea that the sexual urges are uncontrollable. One thing for sure is that sexual assault is about power. As stated by The World Health Organization in The Guidelines for Medico-Legal Care for Victims of Sexual Violence “”Sexual violence is an aggressive act. The underlying factors in many sexually violent acts are power and control, not, as is widely perceived, a craving for sex. Rarely is it a crime of passion. It is rather a violent, aggressive and hostile act used as a means to degrade, dominate, humiliate, terrorize and control women. The hostility, aggression and/or sadism displayed by the perpetrator are intended to threaten the victim’s sense of self. Sexual violence violates a victim’s sense of privacy, safety and well-being””.
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The Army puts in place the best practices to reduce sexual assault and is constantly looking to improve upon these practices. By keeping up to date about statistics and information the Army can put in place new programs to help soldiers intervene and prevent sexual assault. In fact, implementation of a new pilot program started right here at Fort Stewart this past January called Mind’s Eye II’. Monique Ferrell, director of the Army’s SHARP Program, said “”Mind’s Eye II teaches Soldiers how to recognize a situation that may be leading to sexual harassment or sexual assault, and it gives them the skills to be able to properly intervene.”” Ferrell spoke about this new program at the 2018 SHARP Program Improvement Forum this past June. The forum is an annual event where people working within the SHARP program from all across the Army received in-depth instruction on prevention initiatives, sexual violence in the digital age, and intervention along the continuum of harm.
Dr. Nathan W. Galbreath, deputy director of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, noted that about 1 in every 3 military members now choose to report their sexual assault, up from about 1 in 14 in 2006 according to an article from the U.S. Department of Defense. Nearly two-thirds of service members who report sexual assault — 62 percent — say they experienced some form of social or professional retaliation from their fellow service members in 2014, according to a study conducted by military research firm RAND Corp. on behalf of the Defense Department.
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