There are different factors that contribute to the increasing number of sexual assaults throughout the Army. Increased number in reported sexual assaults, misinterpretation of friendly nature between service members, and ignorance of the leadership are significant assisting contexts.
According to an article in Army.mil, “The information from the Army indicates that reporting of sexual assaults has gone up slightly over the two reporting periods. In 2014, for instance, the Army received a total of 2,335 reports of sexual assault, both “restricted” and “unrestricted. In 2016, that number went up to 2,497. Increased reporting is generally thought to relate to improvements in command climate, where Soldiers who are sexually assaulted feel more comfortable coming forward and reporting that assault”. More service members are mindful of the reporting procedures because of the SHARP training they are provided.
When two Service member are close friends that does not give liberty to one to be intimate with another. One might be offended by how they are approached and it could lead to serious consequences.
There was a similar incident within the 1-2 SBCT recently, which I heard from the victim herself, between two very close service members, who went to Advanced Individual Training at the same time and came to the same unit. They were very close friends at work and outside the work. One day, the female Soldier woke up to very uncomfortable situation and she didn’t remember what had happened prior night. She had called her immediate supervisor and the offender admitted his wrong-doing. The offender was moved to a different unit and appropriate actions were taken. But what happened next was worst thing that could have happened to a sexual assault victim. The leadership in the offender’s platoon disclosed about the incident to everyone in the platoon. The victim was reminded of the incident repeatedly with the comments from the Soldiers in that platoon. Most of the time, the senior leaders are made aware of the sexual assault incidents in details, who should treat the matter with dignity and respect. So, next time any of his/her own soldiers go through similar incident, they will trust their leadership enough to ask for any help. Besides they could be in the similar situation would want the same treatment.
Former U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powel said, “Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them”. The implement of the SHARP programs efficiently would yield more reported sexual assaults. With more victims coming forward, we will have broad idea of different factors resulting in the incidents. Commanders should refer to the updated SHARP policies to execute and comply with the Army regulations more efficiently so the victims could have trust in the system. SHARP procedures should be a high priority for Army leaders and should induce awareness to their Soldiers.