☷Prevention Starts With Who Understanding Our Role in SH SA Prevention
U.S. Army ( By Press Release office)
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Army leaders and Soldiers can work together to change the culture , build trust , and create a command climate that does not tolerate sexual assault . ) Although April is the official observance of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month , the Army’s efforts to eliminate sexual assault are continuous . This means there is work to be done – by Army leaders and Soldiers – to achieve this goal . The Army has many strong , unifying values such as loyalty , duty , respect , selfless service , honor , integrity , and personal courage that are consistent with fundamental sexual assault prevention and bystander intervention strategies . However , misplaced loyalty for battle buddies engaging in harmful behaviors can be detrimental . Some may misconstrue this value to justify or ignore harmful behaviors from those on their team , said David S . Lee , Deputy Director of ValorUS , a national organization committed to ending sexual violence . “ ( They may think ) … I ' m going to defend my battle buddy , no matter what , even if they harm someone else , I ' m going to stand by them no matter what and collude with the abusive behavior , ” Lee said . Instead , true loyalty toward fellow battle buddies means supporting sexual assault prevention by calling out these behaviors , he said . “Battle buddies , don ' t harm other people , whether they ' re in our unit or not , ” said Lee . Lee also explained how prevention efforts can be strengthened by cultivating a dedicated workforce to train on prevention activities . He provided the example of how the program Coaching Boys into Men , a healthy relationship skills and sexual violence prevention program for teenage boys , can serve as a model of how investing in program curriculum and those who instruct it can yield positive results with participants and create change . “It ' s a set of lesson plans that a coach gives throughout the season and if they ' re doing that throughout the season , and becomes part of the culture of the team , it actually can build a stronger team , and it becomes something that becomes a reinforced message , and it ' s been associated with lower incidents of sexual violence perpetration . . . . We want to be able to find ways ( for ) this to become . . . part of our ongoing work as opposed to a once - a - year piece , ” Lee said . He also believes noncommissioned officers , can play an integral role as a part of a dedicated prevention workforce . “NCOs actually are the people who build the culture literally within the Army . Higher - level officers , they set the tone , but they ' re not the people on the dayto - day interactions . And NCOs are the daily interactions . ” The work does not stop there . Leaders can also contribute to shifting the culture to better support prevention efforts by creating healthy unit environments for Soldiers . "Leaders need to regularly participate in sexual assault and harassment training efforts and model the behaviors they want other members of the organization to use . Leaders model these behaviors through their actions , language , intolerance for unhealthy behaviors and empathy for persons who are treated in ways that are disrespectful and jeopardize their safety , ” said Dr . Sharyn Potter , Executive Director of Research , University of New Hampshire Prevention Innovations Research Center . Lee encourages Soldiers to hold each other accountable for their actions , which includes calling out harmful behaviors that can lead to sexual assault . “We want to be able to say something , even if it ' s going to be unpopular , even if we ' re going to be seen as the party pooper or downer … we need to be able to say ‘you shouldn ' t act that way . ’ So , if it ' s up to one individual , it ' s very difficult to come forward . But if multiple people come forward … It ' s a lot easier when multiple people do it . ” Soldiers can use the Army values to support sexual assault prevention , Lee said . “…There shouldn’t be anything more natural than how we treat our peers with respect . That we honor them , and that we support their integrity because we want to see no one harmed . That we do not want to see our peers , our battle buddies , harming others … unit cohesion is such an important part of the Army that contributes to our combat readiness , that contributes to our eventual success . Strong cohesiveness is paramount and allowing people to harm others will undermine that . ” Reinforcing sexual assault prevention boils down to encouraging a culture which supports a safe , professional environment where Soldiers and leaders are bonded by trust . For SAAPM resources , please visit https://www . armyresilience . army . mil/ SAAPM - 2022/index . html . To learn more about what you can do to prevent sexual assault , sexual harassment , and retaliation , visit the ARD website .
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