SHARP Is It Working in the Army?
The United States military is made up of civilians who decided that they will undertake a cause bigger than themselves. They take on the responsibility of keeping our nation safe from foes foreign or domestic. These individuals give up most rights that many take for granted. They no longer can give a weak excuse to be absent from work or decide they will not give maximum effort that day, especially when there could be lives at stake. Even though these people cease becoming civilians and now join the ranks of service members they are not excluded from facing many of the same issues civilians do. One of this such issue revolves around what the Army calls SHARP incidents.
SHARP stands for sexual Harassment Assault Response and Prevention. It is the key training tool used to educate Soldiers on the do’s and don’ts cases sexual in nature. Throughout military history there has been overwhelming cases evolving sexual abuse, assault or harassment. Of course, in the civilian world it is happening as well. As service members we are not exempt from the issues and problems of that of our civilian counterparts. Even though we are held up to higher standards and expectations, the reality is that our profession carries an unhealthy dose of high stress and anxiety.
Has the Army done better to reduce the amount of sexual oriented cases? To answer that we would have to examine the numbers of reported cases throughout several years. Today, the number of cases reported has increased by XXXX. At a glance an increase number like that should set off alarms everywhere in our beloved country and put us at DEFCON 3. However, if you take account the changes in circumstances that led to those numbers increasing, it would set you at ease.
Years before SHARP incidents were extremely frowned upon that in most cases things like that would be swept under the rug. Many leaders thought they were failures as leaders when someone in their chain of command would file a complaint. There were so many incidents that went unreported. It was not a solution but a way isolate and falsely defuse a critical situation.
Today, SHARP is there doing what it was first intended to do all alone. It is there educating Soldiers and their leadership on who it hurts, how to recognize it, and how to go about reporting it. The SHARP program in Army is definitely working. Soldiers are more likely to report an incident because they feel they can trust their leadership enough that something will be done to correct it when reported. Yes, we may not like the statistics, but it is our course to a path that ends with us solving this critical and unforgiving issue. Some may argue that things are not changing because male Soldiers are still acting and talking to female Soldiers vulgarly and with disregard to their sensitivity. What I have noticed is that today a female Soldier is asked before if there is a problem that profanity and if so it is not used. I am noticing more and more women in the military talking and acting more like their male Soldiers. It is less and less seen as a threat or insult to the opposite sex and more like a way of communication between comrades.