The Army Zero Tolerance Policies

The Army has a strict zero tolerance policy against Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault (SHARP), yet cases still begin to arise. The training our Army has in place does not pose an immediate risk to Soldiers that have not thought about the long-term consequences starting with alcohol. With the stigma of reporting sexual violence against men sexual assault and sexual harassment will continue. With social media becoming part of Soldiers everyday lives, it leaves them susceptible to higher risks.

Many SHARP cases that were reported within the Army begin and end with alcohol.

With an estimated one-third of all reported cases against men involving alcohol, it hinders the judgement and self-consciousness of Soldiers. The most lucrative tool used to deteriorate a victim's ability to fight back or build one's own courage is alcohol. According to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, "In some cases, offenders use alcohol as a weapon to incapacitate potential victims". Soldiers that are abusing alcohol have underlying issues.

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Instead of seeking professional help, they bury these issues deep within themselves. As these issues continue to build, the alcoholism grows stronger until the Soldier can no longer control it themselves. After a while they begin searching for other ways to fill the void they have fallen into. Unfortunately, offenders are using these ways to take it out on other Soldiers.

Although, more women are coming forward about sexual crimes committed against them, there is still an unprecedented stigma for military men to come forward. According to Dr. Amy Street, a Clinical Psychologist, "Victims talk about feeling numb, being cut off from emotions, unable to function".

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With having a combat Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) being mostly male, male-on-male sexual harassments and sexual assaults are inevitable. When these male Soldiers report sexual assaults or sexual harassments against them, they are viewed as, "less of a man" which hinder the cohesion and comradery between the Soldiers they work and live with every day to accomplish the mission. When a Soldier loses respect for other service members, it creates hostile and subpar performances for the whole team. This feeling of being less of a man is a big part of why these SHARP incidents are going unreported which enables offenders to repeat their crimes.

Another reason for increased reports of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the army is due to social media platforms. Social media can be particularly harmful when used incorrectly. With increasing ways to access the internet it is easier than ever for an offender to get ahold of other soldiers' pictures or daily routine. Soldiers are not taking the steps to increase their security measures on these social media sites such as turning off their locations, sharing where they live, and providing minute details in their upcoming activities. When Soldiers reveal sensitive information to the internet that the offender can study, the offender is able to create scenarios that will put the victim alone with the offender. When you add alcohol to the situation it becomes a reality, not a scenario.

The endless war of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the Army will continue happening. Furthermore, if Soldiers do not monitor the amounts of alcohol they consume, not having more initiative in protecting sensitive information on social media, and reporting incidents of SHARP, they are leaving these threats open to continually happen. When brought into any scenario, alcohol enables Soldiers to commit unconscious choices, it also brings unsolicited exposure that comes with it. Not reporting incidents of SHARP allows offenders to continue to make more victims. As the leaders that have the most direct contact and interaction with junior Soldiers it is our duty to ensure they understand how to prevent sexual violence in our ranks by teaching our Soldiers how to be more proactive in speaking up when they see an incident happen. Showing Soldiers how to better secure their online profiles and assuring them they are not alone should it happen.

Updated: Aug 17, 2021
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The Army Zero Tolerance Policies. (2019, Dec 02). Retrieved from

The Army Zero Tolerance Policies essay
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