A Recurring Issue In The Army: Sexual Assault

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Within the organization of the Army, it seems that the number of sexual assaults increases with every passing year. The Army uses a zero-tolerance policy with multiple trainings/briefings on the matter but the issue continues to rise. It may seem that the number of assaults are what’s rising, but in turn, it may actually be that the number of victims are becoming more brave and self-aware that they can come forth to make a report to get help. 

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Sexual assault is a recurring issue that keeps occurring due to the assaulter feeling a need for power and dominance. The assaulter will use the act as an excuse to make themselves feel better for their personal struggles they are going through. The assaulter normally has an authoritative, physical, or financial standpoint over their victim. These acts make the assaulter feel untouchable and allow them to act in any way beneficial for themselves. In the Army, the use of rank and authority can be used as just as much of a threat as physical force. Unfortunately, the imbalance of power among the Army cannot be fixed unless we can eliminate the structure of ranks, which is not possible. And with that not being an available tactic, our only means is to try and reduce the number of sexual assaults through education.

Our current approach in the Army is to use training and briefs on sexual assault to help reduce the risk of assaults and harassment. The Army uses a briefing called “SHARP”. SHARP is helping to make a difference in the risk of assaults but why is the increase still? “The report for fiscal 2018 estimates that 20,500 service members experienced some type of assault in 2018 compared to the 14,900 reported in 2016. The report indicates a 6.2% increase”. The most likely reason for the increases in reported assaults is because the SHARP program allows people to feel safer to come forward.

After sexual assault, the victim feels incapable and powerless. In the Army, the victim of sexual assault may feel more in control of what happens due to the safety and security given to them. The victims of an assault may fall into depression, fail at their job, or not report an assault due to feeling insecure unless given proper guidance or an outlet for them. Although it is highly unlikely to fully get rid of sexual assault in the Army, all we can do is keep furthering the education and allowing victims the security they need to come forth and report any incidents. 

29 April 2022

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