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Why Does The Number Of Sexual Assaults Continue To Increase Throughout The Army Essay

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With a fighting force denoted as the world’s strongest force compromised of both male and female soldiers, along with the amount of Sexual Harassment Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) training given. Why is SHARP increasing dramatically year by year in the army? Within the fiscal year of 2018 the percentage of females reporting sexual assault rose from 4.3 percent (which was reported two years prior) to 6.2 percent, while the number of reports by a male stayed relatively the same at .7 percent, thus meaning about 13,000 woman and 7,500 men experienced some type of contact or penetrative sexual assault. That is an increase of 5,600 cases within a period of two years (Department of Defense, Fiscal Year 2018 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military). In this essay I will be discussing why sexual assaults still occur in the military, does training reduce or not reduce the risk of sexual assault and harassment, and how do we as an organization end sexual violence.

The most common question throughout my time in service is why does sexual assault occur? There are many ways to answer this question, but I will start with not every victim is responsible for sexual violence happening. Most commonly the perpetrator will always feel entitled and will use their power and control to commit sexual violence (Lisak, 2003). We more commonly see that the perpetrator whether it being male, or female has a sense of inequality towards the other gender, meaning they may have less respect or have no regard for the victim. A lot of times people make excuses to justify why sexual assaults occur, with gender inequality being the main point. This however is the wrong way to go about this because the gender inequality stereotype is way misrepresented. The stereotype is often more pointed towards male on female, and rarely spoken of as female on male or male on male vis versa. In the Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military for Fiscal year 2018 we can see that more reports are generating from active duty females between the age group of 17 to 24, but could this be because males are more susceptible to not reporting a sexual assault incident. This is because men often see an act of sexual violence as hazing, bullying, physical abuse or just an act to humiliate, rather than being an act of sexual harassment or assault. With Department of Defense (DOD) reports showing 27 percent of males considering an incident as hazing, and 39 percent characterized it as bullying.

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The next question that I will answer is what is the importance of SHARP training, and does or does it not reduce the risk of sexual assault and harassment? The importance of SHARP training is to be informative and help soldiers understand what actions can or cannot be a form of harassment or assault. It also outlines what actions are forms of sexual violence. The main purpose of conducting SHARP training annually is to try and eliminate the amount of cases, as well as ensuring every service member feels a sense of respect and dignity. When SHARP training is taught in a creative way rather than be a cut and dry death by power point it seems to be more effective and grab the soldier’s attention. If the training is taught by power point slide it often becomes over repetitive, meaning that more service members are susceptible to not paying attention.

We must ask ourselves how we as an organization can put an end to sexual violence. With the military constantly growing and developing and females making up the minority of the armed forces, I believe that as female soldiers continue to enlist into the military it greatly lowers the risk of sexual violence. The military is constantly evolving for example females now allowed in combat arms, making up a small percentage of combat arms females are greatly needed to change the dynamics and culture of our military. Changing dynamics will lessen number of cases and reports. Females are rising in our rank’s day by day, for example: Air Force General Janet Wolfenbarger making history as the second woman to rise to the rank of four star general.

In this essay I have discussed why sexual assaults occur in the military, whether training does anything to reduce sexual assault and harassment, and how an organization can put an end to sexual violence. With SHARP being the most well-known acronym within each soldier’s military service, the decrease in sexual violence is greatly needed. As Americas strongest fighting force our focus needs to be more oriented to fighting and winning wars instead of having to fight the rise of sexual violence within our organizations. The training is provided, and the knowledge is given so there is no exception for negligence by soldiers towards SHARP.

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