SHARP in the Military Work Force
Women have been sexually harassed and assaulted in the work force for years, and for many years, the US Army has been dealing with this enormous and overwhelming issue, through the help of their agency known as the Equal Opportunity Program (EOP). In the US Army regulation 600-20, Army Chief of Staff, General Raymond T Odierno, States the purpose, “This regulation prescribes the policies and responsibilities of command, which include the Well-being of the force, military discipline, and conduct, the Army Equal Opportunity (EO) Program, and the Army Sexual Assault Victim Program.
“ For a long time, the Army’s EOP Equal Opportunity Program had been involved in taking care of the issues of Sexual harassment in the work force. Now the Army has instituted the SHARP Program; the Sexual Harassment / Assault Recovery and Prevention program. My research begins to ask the question; why is this program now separate from the Equal Opportunity Program, and how the Army came to the conclusion that it need to be separate from the EOP? Will it help decrease the enormous problem of sexual harassment the Army is currently undergoing? What is the current severity of the issue?
I will begin my research, by explaining the Equal Opportunity Program, then provide insightful information of the SHARP program, and conclude with my findings. To understand How the SHARP program came about I need to know, what was the US Army policy on Equal Opportunity, I found out that according to Army Regulation 600-20, signed by US Army Chief of Staff, Raymond T. Odierno states, “The U. S. Army will provide EO and fair treatment for military personnel and Family members without regard to race, color, gender, religion, national origin, and provide an environment free of unlawful discrimination and offensive behavior.
” Reading through this regulation, I was able to understand the responsibilities of every commander, and how this was their charge to make sure that every soldier regardless of their race, color, gender, religion, or national origin, would abide by the policies, standards, and disciplines. How does this policy affect the soldiers, and does it applies both on and off post, during duty and non-duty hours? How does this affect the morale of all soldiers and their work environment? Well it does. The US Army has written extensively on just about every issue it has dealt with since the past, so why all these problems?
Why was there a need to separate the sexual harassment program the Equal Opportunity had in place? And why now call it SHARP? In an article in the USA Today, March 2008, Pauline Jelinek from the Associated Press stated “One-third of women in the military and 6 percent of men said they were sexually harassed, according to the latest Pentagon survey on the issue. ” The one third percentiles is a very high statistical number; it is scary to imagine this enormous threat to female soldiers, and the six percent of the males were sexually harassed. Where do these numbers for this study come from?
Well according to the Associated Press, Pauline Jelinek, “The figure for women was worse than the previous finding several years ago, but better than a similar survey taken in 1995, the Defense Department said in a report Friday. The Defense Manpower Data Center said it compiled the data from a survey of 24,000 people in 2006. ” I have been in the US Army for twenty two years, and I have seen dramatically changes the Army has been going through, and in this particular case the Army has always had to deal with this enormous issue, now more than ever they need to do something about the severity and gravity of this current situation.
It has always been identified as an issue of the lower enlisted and lower officer ranks, and for a long time, the higher officers kept preaching to the choir. The Generals were always coming up with ways to end this issue, and many times they were really not doing much about the cause. So I find myself asking now more than ever, how are we going to deal with this issue realistically? With all the current scandals at the highest levels how can the subordinates feel they were being protected, and the US Army has their best interest at hand?
Currently we have the national director of the CIA Ret. General Petreaus, under current investigation for a national security scandal and an admitted affair. I would like to know how many soldiers under his command, during his entire service to the Army has he punished, and kicked soldiers out the Army for sexual harassment or committing adultery? Can the Army explain the lack of enforcing standards? Rather they have established a double standard. Now you have Col James H. Johnson III, who was recently
convicted of this related issue. In a recent article in the Stars and Stripes, June 14, 2012, Nancy Montgomery wrote “KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Col. James Johnson, convicted of fraud, bigamy, and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, was sentenced Thursday to a reprimand and a $300,000 fine. ” This Officer was in charge for the morale, welfare and protection of more than 20,000 soldiers under his command during the time of war. How can the Army put trust in these high ranking officials?
The Army currently has another case pending, in a recent article in the Army Times, Associated Press, Michael Biesecker, “FORT BRAGG, N. C. — Defense lawyers representing an Army general facing sexual misconduct charges aimed Thursday to paint his primary accuser as a liar prone to jealousy and emotional overreactions. The female captain at the heart of the government’s case against Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair admits she carried on a 3-year sexual relationship with her married commander. Adultery is a crime under military law and the admission could end her career. Brig. Gen.
Jeffrey A. Sinclair faces possible courts-martial on charges that include forced sex, pornography, violating an order, alcohol use, engaging in inappropriate relationships, misusing a government travel charge card, and conduct unbecoming an officer. ” Now so far the Army has ordered all senior officers to go through an intensive conduct, moral and ethical training. For the rest of the force, they have established the SHARP program, well who does it work and what is the SHARP Policy? The new US Army Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program, written in Oct.
2011, states, “Army’s historical perspective shows that a reactive strategy that focuses on victim behavior is not effective in reducing sexual violence for the long term when addressing the problem of sexual harassment and assault in the military. ” The Army Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention Program integrate the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response mission with the military and civilian Prevention of Sexual Harassment mission, which were formerly administered by the Army’s Equal Opportunity and Equal Employment Opportunity programs.
The purpose of the SHARP prevention campaign is to achieve cultural change and to improve individual and unit readiness. There are four phases of the SHARP campaign strategy – (SHARP Program). The SHARP Program campaign strategy has been broken down into four phases; the first phase is to have the committed leadership, phase two is to have an Army wide conviction, phase three is to achieve cultural changes and the fourth phase is to work the goals and applications through sustainment, refinement and sharing, — (SHARP Program).
How will this work? Every unit will have a SHARP representative at every level to provide this crucial effort, and it will work in the same structure and under the same policies that govern the Equal Opportunity Program. What are the current statistics? What can they tell us? In a recent article in the Fayetteville Observer, Henry cuningham wrote, “3,191 sexual assaults, ranging from rape to unwanted touching, were reported in the military in 2011.
” I also found fascinating reading this article that 8,215 soldiers had committed these sex offenses between 2006 and 2011, 97% of all these violent sex crimes, the victim knew or had been involved with their attacker, 54 % of all Army rapes and aggravated assaults had occur in the barracks, and 95% of all sex crimes victims were women. — (Henry Cuningham) There has not been a lot of research done on the SHARP Program, but there is a profound amount of statistical evidence of this serious issue. My findings show there is data to confirm a statistic and trends since 2006 up to this date.
The problem ranges from the lowest ranking soldiers to the highest level in office, so far general officers have been ordered to conduct, moral and ethical training; and the soldiers have been giving the recent SHARP Program. The Army has created this new program, and it is just another program the generals have created to show the nation how they will attack this severe problem of sexual harassment and assault. To me, it is just another way of masking an immense problem, all they have done is recreated the wheel from the current equal opportunity program.
I believe there is more work to be done than just giving high ranking officials some small classes, and recreating a new policy that has always been there. While I am still an optimist, I hope that this new SHARP program dramatically reduces this current severe cancer of sexual harassment and assault, and I hope it protects many females and men who are living this appalling situation. I believe in this nation, and I believe in the goodness of all soldiers serving their country. Hopefully this can be reduced and then turn the attention of other important issues like the morale and welfare of the soldiers, their family, and the mission.