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The purpose of this essay is to discuss why SHARP (Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention) instances continue to increase in the Army. The SHARP program is the Army’s effort to prevent and end sexual harassment and assault. The reasons I think these instances continue increasing are Soldier’s chain of command, Alcohol consumption, and Soldiers being too prideful or scared to report sexual assault.
The Soldier’s chain of command plays an important role in these cases. The chain of command handles sexual assault. This means they have an influence in these sexual assault cases. Soldiers could then fear retaliation. One instance is a woman said she reported the sexual assault to several officers in her chain of command, but was told that she would be charged with adultery. The chain of command should enforce the Army’s policy on sexual assault. It is their responsibility to treat each incident seriously and follow proper guidance. They should avoid blaming victims based on history. “Some persons who have performance issues or a promiscuous reputation are targeted by serial offenders because these victims are perceived to lack credibility.” Events like these could cause the Soldier to not report and the offender can continue sexually assaulting other victims.
Alcohol is a big reason for increased sexual assault. When Soldiers drink, their soberness goes down. They want always be able to make clear and concise decision. Soldiers not aware of themselves could lead to disastrous outcomes. Things they would not normally partake in would happen because of manipulation. This could cause a series of unfortunate events to occur that can change a Soldier’s life. “Alcohol loosened us up and the situation occurred by accident. If no alcohol was consumed, I would never have crossed that line.” Soldiers can no longer give proper consent anymore. They become more vulnerable from the effects of alcohol. This can lead to sexual harassment or even assault.
Pride is an indicator about why sexual harassment and assault continue to rise. After sexual assault, some Soldiers are too prideful or scared to report. They may feel embarrass if their peers or anyone at all was to find out they were sexually assaulted. This could mean that offenders won’t be accountable for their actions. Offenders would assume their crimes are pardon. They will continue to victimize other people. Self-blame is another key reason why Soldiers are not reporting. Innocent questions from leaders could lead to self-doubt and prevent Soldiers from reporting. “The public may not realize just how many victims of any crime blame themselves for their own victimization.” (Karen G. Weiss) These instances will further increase if we don’t act upon them.
In conclusion, SHARP instances continue to increase because of toxic chain of commands, alcohol, and Soldiers too scared to report sexual harassment or assault. In order to mitigate these reasons, we should have leaders held more accountable for their actions. More training on alcohol and the effects it has on your body. Leaders should be supportive and non-judgmental when it comes to victims. With these few adjustments, we should be on our way towards decreasing SHARP instances in the Army.
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