Army human resources kicks off Sexual Assault and Awareness Prevention Month
FORT KNOX, Ky. (WTVQ) – U.S. Army Human Resources Command senior leaders signed a proclamation today to publicly reaffirm the command’s commitment to raise awareness about sexual assault/harassment and prevention and to eliminate these crimes in the Army’s formations.
The event serves as the kick off of HRC’s annual observance of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month held in April.
HRC has 43 trained, credentialed sexual assault victim advocates on staff who serve as confidential sources to survivors. They stand ready to work with them around clock to help survivors get the assistance and treatment necessary to begin their path toward healing.
Maj. Gen. Joseph Calloway, commanding general, HRC, who signed the proclamation, said it’s even more important for everyone, regardless of their rank, to take a preventative stand against sexual assault and harassment by refusing to tolerate such behavior against anyone.
“Many times it starts with inappropriate conduct, inappropriate comments, inappropriate pictures in the office,” Calloway said. “Whatever it is, you shouldn’t have to wait for a leader somewhere to recognize it or for somebody who feels victimized to take action, it should be every individual’s responsibility to [speak up] and make sure that these kinds of issues are addressed immediately. And if you don’t [feel comfortable] addressing it, make sure you take it to somebody in whom you have confidence who will address it. That’s what every sergeant major and general officer is here for, to make decisions and take actions to prevent any form of sexual harassment in the workplace.”
HRC Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony McAdoo, who also signed the proclamation, said “the command has zero tolerance for this kind of behavior because we care about our people.”
In keeping with the social distancing measures being practiced during the current pandemic environment, the command modified the events it usually holds in support of SAAPM, but will still observe Denim Day on April 28, and hold the Darkness to Light-candle lighting ceremony, April 30.
“These events are designed to raise awareness of sexual assault and their impact on victims and our society, as well as, to encourage people to get involved in preventing these acts before they can occur,” said Charles Lay, HRC’s sexual assault response coordinator. “Though SAAPM is just one month out of the year, we want everyone to realize that raising awareness and encouraging prevention efforts must take place year round because a sexual assault is an extremely traumatic event for victims affecting them for the rest of their lives.”
“These efforts require everyone’s involvement if we are ever going to change the culture that has allowed sexual violence to fester and grow in our society” Lay said.
According to RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, someone is sexually assaulted every 73 seconds in the United States, and one out of every six women and one out of every 33 men in this country have been the victims of attempted or completed rape. Those are the nationwide statistics. In the Army there were 3,674 reports of sexual assault in 2019 – an increase of more than 500 reports from 2017.
The Army encourages reporting. Increased reporting is viewed as a sign of confidence in the sexual assault response system and the chain of command. Reporting allows survivors to get the care and support they need and enables the Army to hold offenders appropriately accountable for their actions.
HRC has partnerships with a number of local non-profit agencies the command can refer survivors of sexual assault and abuse for advocacy support and trauma response services, which include crisis intervention, medical examinations, counseling, and education.