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unhappycamper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 04:14 AM
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Battle buddy concept combats sex assaults
Battle buddy concept combats sex assaults
By William H. McMichael - Staff writer
Posted : Friday Mar 6, 2009 15:49:03 EST

Looking out for ones battle buddy while off duty as well as on has emerged as a central element of all four services efforts to combat sexual assault within the ranks, service program managers told the House Armed Services military personnel subcommittee Friday.

We believe it is the duty of every soldier to intervene and stop incidents before they occur, said Carolyn Collins, program manager for the Armys Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention program. Soldiers who fail to intervene and protect their fellow soldier from harassment or the risk of sexual assault have forsaken the warrior ethos to never leave a fallen comrade.

The Air Force has introduced a similar concept that also targets those who may fail to act in the face of peer pressure. We believe the most effective prevention efforts must be focused on airmen who by their participation in peer groups and activities might either actively or passively provide support or camouflage for the sexual predators in their midst, said Charlene Bradley, the Air Forces assistant deputy for force management integration.

The issue has now garnered high-level Defense Department interest, particularly in the wake of news such as last years Pentagon report that found upwards of three-quarters of all sexual assault victims do not report the crime, and a Government Accountability Office finding that 52 percent of service members at 14 installations who had been sexually assaulted over the previous 12 months had not reported the assaults.

In addition to bystander intervention, all the services have implemented strategies that also involve mandatory training, assessments of their programs and marketing campaigns, the program managers said.

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