Army Launching New Campaign To Combat Sexual Assault

August 29, 2008

In the job that I hold, I work with victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault on a daily basis. Regardless of the severity of the assault, one thing holds true … both Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault are crimes that are very preventable. The Army has announced that it will be launching a new campaign to combat sexual assault in the Army, officially beginning on September 9th, though in many installations, those measures are already being implemented. The new campaign, entitled I. A. M. Strong, is a campaign that will encourage Soldiers to be aware of what’s going on around them and to “Intervene, Act and Motivate” to prevent sexual assault.

The Sgt. Major of the Army introduced the new program on August 6th, to the Soldiers attending the 2008 Better Opportunities For Single Soldiers (BOSS) Conference that was held in Landsdowne, Virginia. The program will officially be announced on September 9th, when Secretary of the Army Pete Geren launches the Sexual Assault Prevention Campaign and Strategy. The idea is for all Soldiers to change from a “response” type focus to a prevention focus.

“I need your help with an issue that is affecting our Soldiers – sexual assault,” Preston to the Soldiers attending the BOSS conference. “We’ve been on the defensive concerning this crime – and it IS a criminal act,” Preston continued. “The Army was focused on response. Now, we’re going on the offensive. We’re implementing a new prevention campaign.”1

The Army and it’s population, is a reflection of American society. The Army’s Soldiers and family members come from American society. Sexual Assault is a big problem in the civilian world, with many sexual assaults going unreported, because the victim is often made to feel ashamed or made to feel that the sexual assault was somehow their fault. Unfortunately, like American society, sexual assault occurs in the military. The military and the Army’s belief, is that sexual assault and domestic violence are against the Core Values of the Army and the Standard of Conduct and that they have NO PLACE in the Army. Therefore, over the past few years, they’ve created specialized programs to combat these crimes. Currently, the prevention of sexual assault has one of the highest priorities of the Army’s senior leadership and they are determined to do everything possible to ensure that sexual assaults are not tolerated in the military community.

“As the Army moves out front in these efforts, I need you to ask yourself and each other, ‘What can we do now to prevent sexual assault?”’ said Preston. “It’s about bringing the team together, being a leader, looking out for our fellow Soldiers and taking them under your wing to keep them safe. Our Army values and the Warriors Ethos should make it a given,” he said. “But to remind you and all our Army Soldiers, I want to reinforce that it’s your duty as a Soldier to:


“When you recognize a threat to a fellow Soldier, I expect you to have the personal courage to INTERVENE and prevent Sexual Assault. As a warrior and a member of a team, you must INTERVENE.”


“As a brother, a sister, a fellow Soldier it is your duty to stand up for your battle buddies, no matter the time or place. Take ACTION. Do what’s right. Prevent Sexual Assault. ACT!”


“We are Soldiers, MOTIVATED to engage and keep our fellow Soldiers safe. It is our mission to prevent Sexual Assault and to live the Army Values and take care of our fellow Soldiers. We are all MOTIVATED to take action, to promote SAPR (Sexual Assault Prevention & Response) Programs and become advocates within our communities. We are strongest …. TOGETHER!2

CSSM Preston used the analogy that as a Soldier, one would not aid the enemy on the battle field in harming another Soldiers. In the same way, it is expected that Soldiers look at Sexual Assault in the same manner and help to stop potential offenders and their inappropriate behaviors and actions that may lead to sexual assault.

The new I.A.M. Strong campaign will have several features to get the message out to Soldiers, including influential role models, peer-to-peer messages and a social network that encourages Soldiers to participate in prevention and accountability. Also to be offered will be community workshops, projects and awards. The I.A.M. Strong program will also launch a tour this fall that will feature live interactive training. The program will address everything from dating, sex and non-stranger sexual assault.

The Army’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program has the goal of creating a climate within the Army, where Soldiers live their lives according to the Army Values. To do so, sexual assault incidents must be eliminated. If assaulted, a Soldier must understand that they can and are encouraged to report sexual assault incidents. They can do so, without fear of reprisal and know that they can and will receive the help and treatment that they desire and deserve. Leaders are also being encouraged to ensure that offenders are brought to justice, instead of just receiving a slap on the wrist. While the SAPR program is a necessary part of the Army, the focus is preventing assaults before they occur. That’s where Soldiers are encouraged to focus.

“Sexual Assault goes against our Army Values and Warrior Ethos,” Preston said. “I need you to intervene before an assault happens. Have the personal courage to take action and be motivated to make the program a success – take ownership.”3

I couldn’t agree more. Think for a minute, how many times, you may have observed a couple in a parking lot, say perhaps Walmart, arguing with each other. How many times have you seen a man and woman physically fighting with each other. Did you intervene, or even call the police? Or did you stop and watch for a second and then go on your way, thinking that what was happening wasn’t any of your business? Unfortunately, in this country, that occurs all the time. People are so wrapped up in their own lives, that they’re not willing to stop and help when someone appears to be in need of help. Let me ask another question. What if you walked away when you saw that couple fighting in the parking lot and you found out later that the woman had been brutally raped and killed by the man she was arguing with. Would you feel guilty for not intervening?

What the Army is asking, no telling it’s Soldiers that they MUST do, is to intervene in these types of situations, instead of being that person who just walks away. Someday, that woman or man who was sexually assaulted might just be you or one of your loved ones. Wouldn’t you want someone to intervene?

This program can work, if people are willing do act and intervene when they see something suspicious going on. This is a program that should be implemented in every branch of the military and in every state and city across our country. Too many times, people chose to be walk away instead of intervening and unfortunately, if they had intervened, someone’s life might be saved or a sexual assault might possibly be prevented.

  1. []
  2. []
  3. []


4 Responses to “Army Launching New Campaign To Combat Sexual Assault”

  1. ezineaerticles » Blog Archive » Army Launching New Campaign To Combat Sexual Assault on August 29th, 2008 1:19 am

    [...] Original post by Terri [...]

  2. Biden é um tiro no pé · on August 29th, 2008 5:27 pm

    [...] News » News Army Launching New Campaign To Combat Sexual Assault2008-08-29 18:26:57Officially was held in Landsdowne, Virginia. The program will officially be [...]

  3. the other woman on September 17th, 2008 2:50 am

    [...] [...]

  4. what is leadership on September 17th, 2008 2:54 am

    [...] [...]

Got something to say?