The purpose of this essay is to show the effectiveness of the SHARP program in the military even though reports are increasing. Sexual harassment is a continued issue across the ranks. Included will show evidence of sexual assaults and why they occur. Further covered will be processes implemented to reduce sexual assaults. Lastly will be recommendations of solutions to reduce or eliminate sexual violence. Room for improvement in the SHARP program exists despite current requirements of SHARP training and education. A change begins now.
Misguided knowledge on why sexual violence occurs has lead confusion to its victims in the past. University of Michigan’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center says, “Misconceptions often shift responsibility and blame from the assailant to the victim” (SAPAC, 2019). The DoD during the fiscal year 2017 reported a 9.7 increase in sexual assault reports (SAPR, 2018). Excuses have attempted to justify such acts as humans need and desire. The reality is that it is violence.
Current processes raising awareness on how to stop and report sexual assault is working. The Army has promoted the phrase “I. A.M. Strong.” that empowers soldiers to intervene, act, and motivate. While amounts of reports have increased, the statistics on how many events occur is decreasing. Knowing how to react properly has granted soldiers a voice of confidence and their problems heard.
Soldiers can take more action to end sexual violence even though the Army is moving in an already good direction. Implementing improvements on an individual, unit, and organizational level will contribute to a safer Army. The first recommendation is creating more non-unit based restricted reporting outlets. Increased availability of restricted reporting outlets would provide individuals with additional comfort against reprisal or judgment.
The second recommendation is ensuring standards against assailants by actively improving investigation processes. The final recommendation is to increase the number of SARC representatives in the formation. Having additional outlets directly in the formation will provide a larger sense of daily security. The above-mentioned are several of many ways that can aid in proactively ending sexual violence.
This essay has shown how the SHARP program has been effective in the Army. Statistics have validated that although reports have increased, the amount of actual instances has decreased across the ranks. Growing knowledge on the subject has provided soldiers comfortability in addressing that sexual violence is an actual issue.
Recommended improvements toward the current SHARP program addressed current fear of reprisal, smoother investigation processes, and additional outlets providing daily security. Sexual violence surrounds our formations and it is the job of every soldier to bring this issue to its end.