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Sexual harassment and assault effects all members of the United States Army. With that being said, the army has implemented many preventative measures and programs, resources and ways of reporting. So why do cases of sexual harassment and sexual assaults continue to take place in the Army, despite all the training and education that take place?
According to army.mil in 2014 SHARP reports where up to 2335 both restricted and unrestricted reports, in 2016 the reports went up to 2497 increased reporting could result due to improvements in command climate surveys or a higher presence of sharp awareness or the soldiers felt more comfortable coming forward to report the assault they’ve been through.
I think SHARP cases continue to happen due to people feeling like they will be untouchable. They think they will not be reported, or no repercussions will come of their actions, whether alcohol is involved or not. Even if you start as to consenting adults no alcohol involved, no will always mean no, and stop will mean the opposite party involved no longer yearns for the same thing as you.
The reason sexual assault happens is due to moral dilemmas, a mixture of alcohol or drugs or drugging, and a lack of judgment. Sexual assault in it itself, would mean someone male or female would be preying on their subject IE getting them drunk, drugging them getting them alone and while they’re drunk or drugged having their way with them, or just blatantly raping them. If the subject refuses to stop when no or stop has been said then it is sexual assault/rape. There is no true explanation for why someone is sexually assaulted unless they are targeted. On the other hand, find themselves in the middle of something they no longer want to be a part of but cannot get out. The truth of the matter is there are horribly raised people out there who bring their bad moral judgment or lack of judgment or care into our ranks. ‘People commit sexual assault because they feel entitled to other people’s bodies and disregard other people’s right to consent.’
Our current approach to training against and preventing sexual assault and sexual harassment in my mind is not working. The numbers are still close to where they have always been. If not higher, I will agree that the programs do spread awareness and give the victims great reporting highways. Nevertheless, there is no true prevention for these acts. There is nothing we can do or say as leaders to make this stop in the army. However, we can keep trying and maybe we will finally get it across to some soldiers. People commit these heinous acts because they feel obligated or entitled to the other person they think the other person wants something from them when in all actuality they do not. If we want to change the army and change people’s outlook and awareness on sharp, we need to be the force behind the fight against it we need to back it everywhere. We need to have it on our mind.
No amount of training is going to change someone’s outlook on the subject especially if they are not paying attention. “But Ferrell said that reports from the field have indicated that Soldiers have grown numb to SHARP training as it was delivered in years past.” ‘What we do is encourage them to develop unique, creative ways to deliver training.’ I think the only way to engage soldiers and DA civilians with SHARP is to create productive intuitive classes, that get people involved in learning and preventing SHARP. In my opinion, there is no true way to end sexual harassment and assault in the army. We can try to succeed in so many ways but one bad seed or person that does not think like the rest of us and then the numbers are back. All we can do, as a force is to minimize reduce and prevent possibilities for SHARP incidents to happen at work. We as leaders cannot follow soldiers home or follow senior leaders home and make sure they’re always doing the correct thing at all times, if we did that we would not have lives. I hear soldiers in my unit still to this day talking about things that should be classified as SHARP or should be stopped or put to rest immediately, but I never see leadership enforcing the fight. Some just join in. we need weekly SHARP classes if we want the fight against it to truly and fully work. We need more representatives and not just one per battalion or brigade.
In conclusion I have covered our current SHARP program I have covered sexual harassment, sexual assault, how to respond to incidents and ways to prevent sexual cases in the U.S. Army. I have went over the classes and the specific teachings that I feel are good and are not good. I have included multiple statistical numbers over years of practicing the SHARP program. I have given my opinions on what I think should change and what things could be done better. In addition, I hope this essay on SHARP has changed your mind as well, or has given you more information on why the Army’s current SHARP program is not effective or working for prevention and or ways to stop sexual acts in the workplace. We need to be the force behind the fight.
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