See message below from the Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA):
Over the last three years while visiting Army posts, camps and stations
around the world, I've made a deliberate effort to generate conversations
about sexual harassment and sexual assault with your younger Soldiers,
since most victims are in their first two years of Army service. Most of
your Soldiers say they have not been personally affected by these crimes,
but many know someone who has. They know the Army says it is serious about
its commitment to find and prosecute sexual predators in our ranks, but
many of them don't feel we are doing enough -- or at least don't know if
anything has been done.
The statistics show we are making some progress. Victims who were assaulted
more than a year ago are stepping forward and reporting these crimes, but
many are still concerned about a command climate that judges the victim or
allows retaliation for reporting the incident.
Each of these issues requires us to examine the culture in our formations.
Whether we are NCOs, Officers, or Civilians, our actions (or inactions)
either create a climate that allows these types of criminal acts to be
tolerated or they create one that builds trust among Soldiers who support
good order and discipline.
We can be successful, but it takes the will to do what is right -- morally,
ethically and professionally. For NCOs, that means we must follow through
on what we say we will do when we recite the NCO Creed or our Warrior
Ethos: we are responsible for the welfare of our Soldiers and we take care
of fallen comrades.
But you can and must do much more than caring for victims. You must prevent
these incidents by setting the tone in our commands before something
happens. When we see Soldiers of all ranks acting inappropriately, we must
act. We know now that intimate contact, discussion of sexual acts, pictures
of a sexual nature, fraternization and related actions are the precursors
of sexual harassment if not addressed ... and sexual harassment leads to
To support your efforts, the Army and your local SHARP staff have been at
this issue for several years. We have created some great programs and tools
to help each of us to do the right thing. But, remember these resources
will only be effective if NCOs actively engage the Soldiers they lead in
frank and open discussions.
Some of best tools you have to address the root causes of sexual assault
can be found on the Center for the Army Profession and Ethic (CAPE) website
home page include personal stories from both male and female Soldiers in
our ranks who have been victims of sexual assault. The accompanying
Facilitator Guides have suggestions on how to start the discussion with
your Soldiers. If you need more information, CAPE provides email and live
chat support on their website.
These discussions will communicate to everyone in your command that being
an Army professional is more than being competent at your job -- it is
being a person of character and commitment. I am firmly convinced the
challenges we face are being perpetrated by those in our ranks who may be
competent, but lack in commitment and character.
NCOs, you must lead the way. You know what needs to be done, you know how
to identify the problem, and you know the resources available to help you
be successful. We are the backbone of the Army and as the Chief of Staff
often says, "We can do anything when NCOs make it happen."
For more information from SMA Chandler: