It has been said the United States Army is the greatest Army the world has ever seen in the history of the world. We have the greatest firepower and lethality; impressive speed of maneuver; communications systems span greater distances; logistics support pushed forward; effective execution of mission command with our Soldiers led by agile and adaptive leaders. The center piece is that our Soldiers are smarter and highly trained.
Moreover, our Army is great because it’s a values based organization. We believe in Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage. These values are our guiding principles which drive us to be better, more professional and serve as the framework distinguishing us from any other military force. Although not stated specifically, the foundation of what these values emphasize is an organization built on trust. It is the essence of who we are as individuals and as units. It is through trust that we are a member of a team.
And yet every member of our formation doesn’t see themselves as integral to the Team. They have personal experiences of distrust. They have been made to feel less than the valued member of the Team that they are a part of. You see, they have been victims of sexual harassment or sexual assault. They have experienced a situation in their lives where they have been belittled, degraded or even violated.
Sadly, this violation of trust was not done by an outside enemy. Instead, this was done by members of their own Team…the ones they should be able to trust most! We have Soldiers who have been disrespected; dishonored; violated; belittled and/or demeaned.
Simply stated, there is nothing more insidious to an organization than housing a perpetrator who preys on their brother or sister, attacking them verbally or physically. And equally as tragic is the notion that others in their unit are witness or parties to such events and condone it if in no other way than through their silence. To be clear, silence is concurrence.
We are better than this! Our Army is better than this! Our Soldiers are better than this! If we stand for nothing, we will fall for anything. We must take a stand and we must address these actions which undermine the essence of who we are as an Army…one built on trust which applies our values as an institution. As the sergeant major of the Army has said, we must each be bold enough and strong enough to stand up for what’s right and emphatically state, “not in my squad”. And I say this, “not in the 108th Training Command”.
The Army has invested in ways to help our Soldiers who are victims of such atrocious behavior. In addition to command teams, there are a number of individuals who are trained to assist our Soldiers who have been emotionally or physically wounded in the barracks, motor pool, office environment, on an FTX, in a classroom environment to name a few. We have trained personnel who are Unit Victim Advocates and SHARP trained individuals who are available to assist our Soldiers, civilians and Family members in addressing violations of sexual harassment and sexual assault.
If you have been a victim of such harassment or assault, our Army is committed to helping you. Whether you opt to disclose your situation through restricted or unrestricted reporting, the full resources of the Army are accessible to you be it medical, legal, religious and counseling.
As a member of our great Army Team and within the 108th Training Command (IET), we are duty bound to Intervene, Act and Motivate (I. A.M). Let us all make the promise that we will promote a healthy and professional environment where Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault is not tolerated. Let us be Army Strong. First in Training!