Sexual Harassment in the US Army

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The generalization of sexual Assault and harassment in the US Army has gradually entered the public consciousness from last two decades, but it was not until the publication of Helen Benedict’s book ‘The lonely Soldier’ that it reveal the full extent of the problem.

Today, as the number of women in the military increases, the problem has reached such a level that it can no longer be ignored. Victims of sexual trauma suffered within the military make their stories heard in books, articles, films, support groups or during trials. The purpose of this essay is to review why do cases of sexual harassment and sexual assault continue to take place in the Army, and how we can do to reduce or to end this tragedy.

Kintzle said: ‘There has been culture shift within the military, with a pretty strong effort to recognize that sexual assault and harassment is something that happens, that there are factors within the military that make people vulnerable to experiencing sexual assault, and that more needs to be done to address those issues and to support people who report.’ This is proven by the number that has increased in recent years according to the statistics given by the Pentagon.

The frequency of sexual trauma in the US Army is an epidemic which strikes both men and women. In 2013 alone, 60% of the total staff said they were subjected to sexual harassment, 20% of whom were women. Main problems emerge which, when combined, are ideal situations to promote trauma: a structure where power is in the hands of men, a judicial process pyramid with a chain of command and a prevention program that rejects the responsibility for the victim.

The main factors causing these cases of sexual assaults and harassment are associated with military settings, typically young age of personnel, the isolated locations of bases, the minority status of women, and the disproportionate number of man in senior positions. We can add others factors like an emphasis in military organizations on conformity, obedience and hierarchical power relations. These factors increase the risk of Sexual assault and harassment, particularly to personnel of low rank, who are less able than others to resist inappropriate expectations made of them. The traditionally masculine values reinforced in military settings play a role in those cases of sexual assaults.

Sara Kentzle from USC University of southern of California has helped to develop a sexual assault prevention program that has been pilot tested at several army bases throughout the United States. The program focuses on skills training and education, homing in on specific moments when service members are most vulnerable to sexual assault, such as when they transfer to a new duty station. Training for a woman entering her first duty station would be focused on what her specific military experience is going to be like and how she can protect herself.

He handle some recommendations which can help to end a sexual harassment and sexual assault:

  • Hold leadership accountable.
  • Improve the reporting system.
  • Modify existing laws to prevent assault.
  • Provide increased support for survivors.
  • Improve sexual assault prevention skill training.

A leader, on the other hand, may receive training that focuses more on what to do if someone discloses sexual assault. The training might cover questions like: How do I react in the right way? What do I say? How do I show someone who claims sexual assault that I believe them? These trainings are designed to help service members speak out when they see or experience something that makes them feel uncomfortable. Rather than simply learning about what constitutes assault and how to report, service members are active participants in the conversation and can share what they think is and isn’t appropriate and how they would handle the situation.

Collectively, we must do everything we can to eliminate sexual harassment and assault in the military. In doing so, we must provide the highest-quality response to service members and hold offenders appropriately accountable. Through these combined prevention, accountability, and support efforts, we will better prevent the crime and investigate and adjudicate reports, all while reiterating the Department’s emphatic message that sexual assault is illegal and immoral, is inconsistent with the military’s mission, and will not be tolerated. We will not rest until all Service members can serve in an environment of dignity and respect. The overarching goal is to change the culture of the military to ensure that those who experience sexual fell supported.

Finally, sexual assault must be followed up fast and severe consequences. This will not only eliminate the risk of recurrences but will make it clear to the attackers that they will have to face a real policy of zero tolerance.


  1. Pentagon FY2018 Sexual Assault Report

Cite this paper

Sexual Harassment in the US Army. (2020, Nov 24). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/sexual-harassment-in-the-us-army/

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