Wednesday, February 11, 2009

U.S. Army takes lead on sexual harassment/assault education and prevention

The Army is placing renewed emphasis on sexual harassment and awareness within its ranks, according to a recent story on

After restructuring the Army's Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention, or SHARP office, it has begun distributing "I. A.M. Strong" sexual assault prevention information kits to Army commanders.

I. A.M. stands for "Intervene, Act, Motivate."

The kits contain a Commander's Guide, Leader's How-To Guide, brochures and wallet cards for each Soldier, a DVD, poster series, and banners. The DVD portrays real victims and real accounts of sexual assault from female Soldiers.

"Personal involvement of all leaders and soldiers is necessary for successful prevention efforts," said Maj. Gen. John R. Hawkins III, the Army G-1's director of Human Resources Policy. "All leaders, military and Army Civilian, must maintain an environment that rejects sexual assault and attitudes and behaviors that promote such acts."

According to JFHQ-HRO, the Oregon National Guard has moved the responsibilities of sexual assault/harassment education from a part-time position to a full-time position. The Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, Capt. Rey Agullana, will begin working at JFHQ on March 1.

While the SARC responsibilities and position has been around a long time, with the increase in deployments, a program agenda is being put in place to increase awareness and education, said Capt. Dawn DeLand, state Equal Employment Manager for the Oregon Military Department.

"Our main goal is to decrease sexual harassment and sexual assaults from occuring in the first place," Capt. DeLand said. "But to also provide better support systems when they do occur.

In 2007, the number of sexual assaults in the Army was twice that of its sister services. The program intends to ensure a cultural about-face: to transform Army climate and become the model for the nation in prevention of sexual harassment and assault, officials said.

In late 2007, the Air Force issued a "zero-tolerance" policy on sexual harassment. The guidelines include infractions ranging from physical contact and gestures, to off-color jokes and comments.

Prior to Capt. Agullana's appointment as the full-time SARC, the positions duties were assigned to Col. Marilyn Woodward, who retired in December, 2008.

To read the policy on the Army Sexual Harassment program, go here. To view the educational video, go here.

Posted by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy,
Emerging Digital Media Manager, Oregon Military Department

No comments: