The Army’s Sharp Program is the Army’s Campaign
Sexual violence festers within the military. Both men and women fall victim to sexual assault and harassment every day within the ranks of the military. The Army’s SHARP program is the Army’s campaign to put an end to sexual assault and sexual harassment within its own ranks. But a large problem that has been plaguing the military has been the lack of victims coming forward to report their assaults.
The number of sexual assaults in the military is not increasing, however, the number of sexual assaults being reported by service members is. Soldiers are starting to have more confidence in their leadership, the Army, and it’s policies and support regarding sexual violence.
Since the turn of the century, the Department of Defense has been working to reduce the prevalence of sexual harassment and sexual assault within military ranks to rebuild our culture into a culture free from sexual assault. But why does sexual assault continue to occur in a comrades-in-arms style environment? According to the Council on Foreign Relations (Reynolds & Shendruk, 2018), in 1974, female soldiers made up 2% of enlisted forces and 8% of the officer corps. In 2016, that number rose to 16% enlisted, and 18% officer. With the military still being comprised of over 80% male personnel, the military, in some instances, has sustained a workplace environment where sexist comments, crude and sexual jokes, and pseudo homoerotic behavior have remained to be acceptable; As long as there are no females present.
According to the Department of Defense’s 2017 Annual report of sexual assault in the military, “Since FY12, sexual assault reporting has increased by over 88 percent within the Department, while prevalence has decreased by nearly 45 percent for the same period.” This evidence suggests that sexual assaults within the military are occurring less, and that more victims are making the choice to report their assaults. Soldiers are beginning to have faith in their leadership and the Army. Unfortunately, sexual violence will never cease to exist in the Army. As much as leaders and the DoD try, we will always live in a good versus evil world. But we can strive on and continue on the path to preventing sexual violence at every opportunity available. Good soldiers need to speak up more often and help to prevent sexual violence before it starts. We need to forget the attitude of “It’s none of my business.”
- Reynolds, George M. & Shendruk, Amanda (2018). Demographics of the U.S. Military. Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved from www.cfr.org/article/demographics_us_military
- Department of Defense. (2018). Department of Defense Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military Fiscal Year 2017. Retrieved from https://www.sapr.mil/public/docs/reports/FY17_Annual/DoD_FY17_Annual_Report_on_Sexual_Assault_in_the_Military.pdf