By Gen. Carter Ham
U.S. Army Europe Commander
In Iraq and Afghanistan, a Soldier will place himself or herself in danger to protect a comrade in harm’s way. We need to apply that same instinct at our home stations and provide aid to a Soldier in the fight against sexual assault.
We have a unique opportunity to build on this culture through our bystander intervention programs and capitalize on this instinct to protect our fellow Soldiers, friends and families from becoming sexual assault victims.
Sexual assault is contrary to Army values, degrades mission readiness, is a crime and has no place in our Army. It tears apart the fabric of trust that bonds our units and communities.
I am very passionate about the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program. This program reinforces our commitment to ensuring that victims receive quality services and perpetrators are held accountable.
We must continue working as a team to eliminate sexual assault from our ranks. Everyone, not just leaders, sexual assault response coordinators and victim advocates, has a responsibility to rid the Army of this crime.
It’s important that we keep our focus on prevention. Our team must have an ingrained, values-based “gut reaction” against sexual assaults, sexually offensive language, comments and gestures that may create an environment of abuse. This reaction must compel all to act immediately to prevent a potential assault.
Our goal is elimination of sexual assault, but until that happens we will continue treating victims with dignity and respect and providing quality care.
Sexual assault is contrary to Army values, and we won’t quit until it’s gone from our ranks.