By C. Todd
Lopez, Army News Service
D.C. — The Army plans to launch new initiatives for the
prevention of sexual assault during a summit this September in Washington,
outcome of this summit will define our future prevention strategy and
drive our way ahead for the campaign we will launch," said Col.
Eddie Stephens, deputy director of Human Resources Policy, during a
media roundtable, July 30, at the Pentagon.
details on the kinds of tactics the Army might introduce that could
help the service curb instances of sexual assault and rape in the
ranks were few, as the Army is still developing those tactics. But
Stephens did say the overall strategy for sexual assault prevention
was headed in a new direction.
effort is intended to change behavior, change influences on behavior,
and over the long term, change the culture of our organization so our
folks are adopting the traditional values we hold key to this
institution we call the Army," Stephens said.
"The outcome of this summit will define our future
prevention strategy and drive our way ahead for the campaign we
Human Resource Policy
the summit will be representatives from the Army’s Training and
Doctrine Command. The command will be revising all of its training
this fall to incorporate into it the prevention of sexual assault,
said Carolyn Collins, the program manager for the Army’s sexual
assault and prevention response program.
not only for our professional military education, but also our first
responder training," she said. "And we are looking at
training from the earliest possible point we can engage — from
senior ROTC, to junior ROTC, to the academy, to the new recruits —
even before they hit the ground."
said the Army has noticed in some communities that the definition of
what is acceptable behavior between men and women may no longer be
acceptable within the Army community.
of the things that have become apparent to us is that the cohort of
Soldiers that we bring into the Army every year has changed," he
said. "Societal norms and negative influences have changed in
this population. Their norms are not like their father’s or
grandfather’s norms of what is acceptable behavior in this
Soldier may bring into the Army ideas he learned in high school about
what is appropriate behavior between men and women.
young Soldier, 18- or 19-years-old, comes into the Army and has been
in an environment with his peers, and with the influences upon him,
where he believes that inappropriately touching a female is
acceptable," he said. "She may have not complained about it,
because of her influences and her social norms — where in high
school this happens all the time. But in the Army, that is sexual
solution, Stephens said, is reeducating Soldiers to the Army value
take the opportunity to reeducate, based on the Army values —
respect," he said. "We use the Army values as a benchmark
and to show that what was normal to them doesn’t fit with our value
system. And again we work to change people’s attitudes and influence
of the negative influences that might lead young men and women to
develop behavioral attitudes that are contrary to Army values might
include music, music videos, video games, advertising and information
on the Internet, Collins said.
not going to be able to cut Soldiers off from those influences,"
she said. "But that is not our intent. Our intent is educating
them. What we’re driving toward, is for Soldiers to be educated and
have an understanding of what this crime is and isn’t — there are
a lot of myths out there."
said youth seek approval from each other before they seek approval
from authority, and that this trend also will drive the Army’s
efforts to curb sexual assault.
see things like the recent story where the young ladies did the
bullying action — the assaults — then posted that on the Web
site," Collins said. "What they are looking for is
validation. Are their actions acceptable? Are they going to be held
accountable by their peers? We know with our youth market that is
coming in the Army, that they are driven by peer-to-peer
accountability. That is their largest influencer. We have to look at
that as we move our program forward."
is that peer-to-peer influence the Army hopes to leverage, through
top-down education and information, to help ensure Soldiers live up to
our research and feedback, Soldiers are telling us how best to
communicate with them. We are looking at social networking. Whether it
is a social networking site like YouTube or Face Book, a lot of the
communication among people in that age group is anonymous," he
said. "They feel validation through their anonymous ability to
communicate with and maintain friendships with folks online."
also said smaller social groups are a good way to communicate new
information to Soldiers.
know that face-to-face, in small group settings — not necessarily
overtly focused on a military sense, but on a social sense — allows
folks to communicate, provide feedback, and become involved," he
said. "If we can provide an alternative focus on something that
is wholesome verses something that is negative, we think there’s
more of a tendency for our folks to become involved."