|By Rob McIlvaine, Army News Service
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In an annual Department of Defense (DoD) report just
released, the Army had a slight increase in reported sexual assaults,
but a senior leader explained this as actually a positive thing.
It means “Soldiers have enough confidence in our programs, the system,
and their chain of command to come forward and report a crime,” said
Brig. Gen. Barrye L. Price, director of Human Resources, Army G-1.
U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas of
Massachusetts (left to right), U.S. Rep. Michael Turner of Ohio,
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez of
California, U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes of Texas and Army Gen.
Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speak
with reporters at the House of Representatives in Washington,
D.C. Panetta and Dempsey met with members of the House April 16
to discuss new measures to combat sexual assault in the
military. (Photo by Erin A.
Price, who oversees the Army’s Sexual Harassment and Assault
Response and Prevention program, known as SHARP, briefed the
report’s conclusions during a media roundtable April 17.
In the DoD Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, released
April 2012, the Army had 1,695 reported cases of sexual assault.
This was an increase of six cases from the previous fiscal year,
Price said — actually much less than a 1 percent increase.
The Army has a goal of eradicating sexual assault completely, Price
said, but the effort had to begin by encouraging reporting and
changing the paradigm.
“On (April 15),” Price said, “our nation and major league baseball
paused to pay tribute to the legendary baseball player who broke the
color line in professional athletics within our nation ... Jackie
“Of all of Mr. Robinson’s achievements, perhaps his greatest
offering, was ... a 15-word quote: ‘your life is not important
except for the impact it has on another life.’”
Robinson’s quote illustrates today’s Army as being in a perpetual
state of refinement as it takes both a top-down and bottom-up
approach to eradicating the issue of sexual assault within the
ranks, Price said.
“This is, in Navy lore, an all-hands-on-deck endeavor which has
required the time, talents and treasure of the entire force, the
Congress and subject-matter experts from across our nation to usher
in a program for our goal of eradicating sexual assault to become a
“As you are well aware, the Army is a value-based organization where
dignity, respect, honor, discipline and integrity aren’t simply
slogans or bumper stickers, but they are the hallmarks and
foundational tenets of the profession of arms, and they are the
mandates and watchwords of the treasure that we endeavor to serve,”
The Army, he said, is learning more about sexual assault ... the
psychology of an assailant, and how to treat victims to ensure
they’re not victimized twice.
Of the 1,695 reported cases of sexual assault in FY 2011, only 301
were restricted reports in which victims opted not to release
personal information to their chain of command or criminal
“We know that 53 percent of restricted reports involve a
servicemember assaulting another servicemember. We know that most
assaults occur in the first 90 days within a unit; that 61 percent
occurred on weekends and that 84 percent of the victims of this evil
are lower enlisted in grades E-1 through E-4.
“Likewise, we know that 59 percent of the alleged offenders hail
from the same demographic,” Price said.
“Whereas we’ve made much progress, there is much work that remains
on three fronts:
• Removing the stigma of reporting;
• Securing the trust of victims to ensure they aren’t victimized
• Ferreting out would-be and alleged perpetrators by every Soldier,
Department of the Army civilian, and member of our team — intervene,
act and motivate others to do the same.
“Finally, our focus remains on prevention, intervention,
investigations, and prosecutions, with an emphasis on victim support
and protection,” Price said.
To help address the crime of sexual assault within the military, the
DoD annual report states that data provided in such reports serves
as the foundation and catalyst for future sexual assault prevention,
training, victim care and accountability goals.
“We have a new survey that starts next month that really informs
leaders of how we’re doing and this really helps to inform us.
The Army chief of staff has directed the creation of a Red Team to
do an internal assessment of the Army’s efforts.
“A Red Team is an organization that takes a hard look at a program
or a system and goes down to posts, camps and stations, to assess
how that guidance matriculates and how it’s being executed and
implemented in the field.
“It’s us grading ourselves, but they have freer rein to report,”
He said this team went out April 24 to several installations — both
virtually to bases in the west, and physically to most in the
National Capitol Region.
They’ll go out within another six months to see how the programs
have improved, he said.
To view this and past year reports, visit