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Respect, One of the Army Values

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The consumption of alcohol is a great component as to why sexual assault still occurs in the Army. Approximately 44 percent of sexual assault crimes involve the consumption of alcohol, by the victim, the offender, and even sometimes both. Being under the influence has also been proven to increase aggression, and impair the judgment of consequences of a negative situation. Being in the wrong mindset can cause someone to act on their most irrational thoughts. For example, someone who is normally shy and introverted may be more responsive and outgoing while under the influence of alcohol. This intertwines with sexual assault by demonstrating that although someone may not normally act a certain way while sober, alcohol can physically alter the actions of others.

The Army’s SHARP Program’s motto is “I AM STRONG”. This motto is vital to the Army SHARP program because it outlines the steps that can be taken to prevent sexual assault. The “I” stands for Intervene, the “A” stands for Act, and the “M” stands for Motivate. The “I” is the most important portion of this motto, due to the fact that it is the first solution to minimizing crimes of sexual assault. Intervening could save someone’s life by making the assailant accountable for their actions instead of undermining them. Stepping in and helping someone in need when they are most vulnerable causes the assailant to see their actions and recognize their wrong doings, moreover it creates a safe space for the victim. Respect, one of the Army Values, is something each soldier should be afforded regardless of age, gender, or rank.

A poor chain of command can result in the increase of sexual assault cases in the Army. For example, a former soldier deployed in Iraq, was sexually assaulted by her superior. The soldier reported the assault to several officers in her chain of command, but was told that she would be charged with adultery if she pursued with the complaint. This soldier endured further threats, and shortly after, her chain of command became antagonists to her situation. The chain of command in each unit needs to have the personal courage and integrity to stand up for what is right and wrong. This example, like many others, is an actual phenomenon that occurs every day in the Army. The negative effects of this type of leadership allows room for more sexual assaults to occur.

To conclude, Alcohol consumption, a poor chain of command, and neglecting to intervene in aggressive situations are all three elements that causes sexual assault to be a continuing dilemma in the Army. The SHARP program was designed to minimize these efforts, and through exercising self-discipline, using the army values as a reference, and not being a bystander sexual assault can be mitigated. Always remember that you are not alone. The Army is committed to providing a safe working environment for all of its troops. United we stand, Divided we fall!

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