As most everyone knows, because it's received so much Congressional and media attention, sexual assault within our military has surfaced as both a problem, and a hot-button issue. No question, all branches are taking it very seriously, but perhaps none more so than our Army. Removing the assault blemish is the Secretary of the Army's highest priority, as reinforced, during his on-site visit to Fort Stewart this week.
The 3rd ID has responded rapidly with its comprehensive SHARP program, standing for Sexual Harassment & Assault Response and Prevention. Elements include a Female-to-Female Mentorship initiative, aimed at increasing knowledge, networking, unit support, and eliminating the isolation an assault-victim may feel. That's combined with training for bystander intervention, instilling among fellow-soldiers a bias for action, rather than passivity, aimed at preventing all forms of irresponsible and harmful behavior. Coupled, then, with "got your back" training, further emphasizing the importance of unit cohesion and fellow-soldier support, not only in the traditional battlefield scenario, but in the garrison-setting as well. Working to overcome the long-standing stigma that stepping-forward, might negatively impact one's unit standing or career. Bottom line: Creating a positive environment of trust and respect among all soldiers. All branches and units are now working to remove the stain, and the pain, of sexual assault. But special kudos to the men and women of the 3rd ID for stepping forward, aggressively, to deal with and resolve this problem which has no place within our Army, our military, or, within our nation as a whole.