Army observes April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month

| April 12, 2013 | 0 Comments

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Cynthia Hawkins
Army News Service

April is recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) nationwide.

The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent it.

Originally, women-only protests emerged across the country in direct response to the violence women encountered.

But before long, these activities became more coordinated and quickly developed into a movement that included issues of sexual violence against men, as well as men’s participation in ending sexual violence.

For our military, sexual assault is a problem that will require sustained vigilance and a steadfast team effort to eradicate.

Sexual assault breaks the bond of trust among Soldiers that is essential to the mission. This lack of trust degrades mission readiness by harming the victim and the unit’s ability to work effectively as a team.

“As military professionals, we must fully understand the destructive nature of these acts (sexual assault), lead our focused efforts to prevent them and promote positive command climates and environments that reinforce mutual respect, trust and confidence,” said Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin Dempsey in a recent press release.

“Sexual assault among service members is a problem we face together,” Dempsey continued, “and that can only be solved together.”

There is no surefire way to prevent a sexual assault attack; therefore, the SAAM campaign includes a greater focus on prevention.

The Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program reinforces the Army’s commitment to preventing incidents of sexual harassment and sexual assault through a comprehensive policy that centers on awareness, training and education, victim advocacy, response, reporting and accountability.

The SHARP program provides advocacy services and resources that support victim recovery from the trauma of sexual assault, works to reduce the incidence of sexual assault, and lifts the veil of secrecy and shame associated with reporting sexual violence.

With unprecedented leader commitment, matched by strong personal commitments from every Soldier, civilian and family member, we can establish a climate that does not tolerate, condone or ignore sexist behavior, sexual harassment or sexual assault.

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Category: News, Observances, Safety

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