|By Michael Burkhalter, Installation Management
SAN ANTONIO — October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and
the Army is doing its part to help combat violent behavior in its ranks.
The awareness campaign aims to highlight the prevention,
intervention and services provided by a community more than willing
to address and stop domestic violence.
“All of you are dedicated to eliminating this threat,” said Army
Secretary John McHugh during a Sexual Harassment/Assault Response
and Prevention (SHARP) summit held in March, “and it’s a threat to
our cohesion of our units, a threat to our units and a threat to our
“The fact that sexual assault still occurs in our ranks is
heartbreaking; it’s (opposite) to everything we value in this
institution,” he added.
In 2008, former Secretary of the Army Pete Geren and Army Chief of
Staff George W. Casey Jr. launched a new strategy — including the I.
A.M. (Intervene, Act, Motivate) Strong Campaign — to thwart sexual
assault and harassment.
This year’s SHARP summit opened phase three of I. A.M. Strong’s
four-point effort to eliminate sexual violence in the Army. At the
summit Carolyn Collins, SHARP Program Office division chief, noted
domestic violence numbers went down 8 percent in 2010. She said
1,689 cases were reported last year, and 1,795 were reported in
“We know our actual numbers went down, not just our reported
numbers. And our rate per 1,000 went down,” Collins said. “We grew
our Army the last few years, but our rate per 1,000 didn’t go up
with that, it actually came down, so we believe we are reducing
Collins attributed this to encouraging victims to report incidents
of violence; providing some of the best medical care and counseling
techniques in the nation; and the Army dedicating itself to
prosecution and investigation techniques.
“We will assess ourselves by ensuring we are doing the best we can,”
Collins said. “We will adjust fire, just as in the Army, to ensure
our investment is bringing about change so we can achieve our goal
of eliminating sexual harassment and assault.”
Statistics show a need for the Army to build social intolerance
toward domestic violence, such as strengthening programs designed to
promote awareness; encouraging reporting; providing safety for
victims; and ensuring treatment and/or administrative action for
offenders, with special emphasis on services for junior Soldiers and
their spouses or intimate partners.
Also, the Army Family Programs office has established an Army Family
Advocacy Program web page on ArmyOneSource.com for Soldiers and
Families with information and awareness campaign resources.
The Web page makes available resources for new parent support
visitors, victim advocates, transitional compensation and other
prevention and educational services.
For more information in the Fort McCoy community, call the Army
Community Service Center at 608-388-3505.
(Additional information provided by Rob McIlvaine, Army News