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As we all know the Army’s ultimate intent of the SHARP PROGRAM is to educate us soldiers on the Occurrences, Overall Outcome and benefits of the Sexual Harassment/ Assault Response Prevention Program. Although the Army have implemented this great program for soldiers that have been affected in some shape, form or fashion, there are still many unsolved cases because Soldiers that have been harassed or assaulted fail to report the incident to their chain of commands fail or Sharp Advocate. Why do soldiers fail to report their incidents to their chain of command or sharp advocate? For one there any many Soldiers who either one fail to take Sharp incident seriously and/or doesn’t know exactly what the program is specifically used for (i.e Uneducated) or two afraid of punishment from offender or direct leadership regarding to the incident. When the victim fails to report their offender, it gives the offender the opportunity to either continually assault/harass the victim or potentially lead to someone else getting violated which leads to more cases of “Sharp”. All in all, this is why I think sharp still occurs despite the training that takes place.
Based off statistics from the Department of Defense Annual Report on “Sexual Assault/ Harassment” in the Military, there were 6,769 reports of sexual assault in the military fiscal year May 2017, and 40% of victims claimed to have experienced some sort of retaliation for reporting there incidents. In addition, the report also stated that, the fear of ostracism and retaliation remains a roadblock to reporting sharp or filing a complaint. “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 43.6 percent of women and 24.8 percent of men in the U.S. experienced some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime”. “Nonetheless, the Department of Defense (DOD) concluded that most victims will not report their incidents because of the fear of being retaliated against by their offenders and outcasted by their subordinates and/or above leadership”.
My personal opinion to help diminish sexual assault & sexual harassment in the military is to consistently encourage soldiers to open up to someone that they’re comfortable talking to and to report all cases of sexual assault & sexual harassment regardless of the suspected offender is rank or position. Also, we can end sharp by responding to reports with intense detail that deters individuals from believing that they wouldn’t get caught if they sexually assault or harass someone.
In conclusion, our current approach to training is not adequate enough to reduce sexual violence in the army. The training must be met with more commitment to the cause. Which includes supporting victims more and making sure reports of sexual assault are properly investigated, information is kept disclosed unless victim says otherwise, and has the needed attention throughout the investigation process.
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