Our Insider Threat
Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment are incompatible with the Army Values and the Warrior Ethos.
The Army's Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program, known as SHARP, exists so the Army can prevent sexual harassment and sexual assaults before they occur. Our goal is to eliminate sexual assaults and sexual harassment by creating a climate that respects the dignity of every member of the Army family. Additionally, we strive to:
- Reduce the stigma of reporting
- Protect the victim
- Increase prevention, investigation, prosecution and victim care capabilities
- Increase training and resources
- Refine and sustain response capability
Sexual harassment and sexual assault are inconsistent with Army Values and will not be tolerated. One assault is one too many. We must foster a climate of trust that respects and protects our Soldiers, civilians, and family members. We are aggressively implementing and expanding the Army's comprehensive SHARP Program. SHARP is a commander's program. We are committed to ensuring engaged leadership at all levels to prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment.
Who is Eligible for SHARP Services (Overseas)?
- Military and their family members age 18 and older. Military and their family members have the Restricted and Unrestricted Reporting Options.
- DOD civilian employees and their dependents age 18 and older when they are stationed or performing duties OCONUS and eligible for treatment in the MHS at military installations or OCONUS facilities. These DOD Civilian employees and their dependents age 18 and older only have the Unrestricted Reporting Option.
- U.S. citizen DOD contractor personnel when they are authorized to accompany the Armed Forces in a contingency operations OCONUS and their U.S. citizen employees. DOD contractor personnel only have the Unrestricted Reporting Option.
What are my options?
WHAT IS SEXUAL HARASSMENT?
Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination that involves unwelcome sexual advances, sexual innuendos, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
Sexual assault and sexual harassment are not the same, although they are related to each other.
Types of sexual harassment:
Quid pro quo
"Quidpro quo" is a Latin term meaning "this for that." This term refers to conditions placed on a person’s career or terms of employment in return for favors. It includes implicit or explicit threats of adverse actionif the person does not submit to such conditions and promises of favorable actions if the person does submit to such conditions. Examples include demanding sexual favors in exchange for a promotion, award or favorable assignment; disciplining or relieving a subordinate who refuses sexual advances; and threats of poor job evaluation for refusing sexual advances.
A hostile environment, to include the work environment, can occur when service members or civilians are subjected to offensive, unwanted and unsolicited comments, or conduct of a sexual nature. An abusive or hostile environment need not result in concrete psychological harm to the victim, but rather need only be so severe or pervasive that a reasonable person would perceive, and the victim does perceive, the work environment as hostile or offensive. (“Workplace” is an expansive term for military members and may include conduct on or off duty, 24 hours a day). Sexual harassment occurs when a person is subjected to offensive, crude, unwanted, and unsolicited comments and behavior of a sexual nature that interferes with that person’s performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.
Categories of Sexual Harassment
- Verbal. Examples of verbal sexual harassment may include telling sexual jokes; using sexually explicit profanity, threats, sexually oriented cadences, or sexual comments; whistling in a sexually suggestive manner; and describing certain attributes of one’s physical appearance in a sexual manner. Verbal sexual harassment may also include using terms of endearment such as "honey," “babe," “sweetheart," “dear," “stud" or “hunk" in referring to service members, civilian co-workers, or family members.
- Nonverbal. Examples of nonverbal sexual harassment may include physical conduct, such as cornering or blocking a passageway, staring at someone (that is, “undressing someone with one’s eyes"); blowing kisses; winking or licking one’s lips in a suggestive manner. Nonverbal sexual harassment also includes printed material (for example, displaying sexually oriented pictures or cartoons); using electronic communications as defined in AR 600-20 Chapter, 4-19; posts on any social media platform; or sending sexually oriented notes, letters, emails or texts.
- Physical contact. Examples of physical sexual harassment may include touching, patting, pinching, bumping, grabbing, kissing or providing unsolicited back or neck rubs. Unwanted physical contact may be reported as sexual harassment or sexual assault and must be handled in accordance with this policy depending on the conduct being reported. Any complaint that involves unwanted physical contact, that is not clearly sexual assault, must be coordinated with the supporting legal office to ensure it does not meet the legal definition of sexual assault and require additional advocacy coordination with the original complainant.
WHAT SHOULD I DO?
I have been sexually harassed/someone I know has been sexually harassed. What should I do?
All service members and DOD civilians have a responsibility to help resolve acts of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment can be a precursor behavior to sexual assault. In a climate of sexual assault prevention, it is important to address sexually harassing behaviors so that this conduct does not escalate. Additionally, service members and Army Civilians should work to ensure a safe,productive work environment, free of sexual harassment. Military personnel should report incidents of sexual harassment through their SARC. Family members of active-duty service members have the option to report incidents to the SHARP SARC or the EEO Office.
HOW CAN I REPORT SEXUAL HARASSMENT?
Techniques of Dealing with Sexual Harassment
All service members and civilians have a responsibility to help resolve acts of sexual harassment. Examples of how to accomplish this follows:
- Direct approach. Confront the harasser and tell them that the behavior is not appreciated, not welcomed and that it must stop. Stay focused on the behavior and its impact. Use common courtesy. Write down thoughts before approaching the individual involved.
- Indirect approach. Send a letter to the harasser stating the facts, personal feelings about the inappropriate behavior and expected resolution.
- Third party. Request assistance from another person. Ask someone else to talk to the harasser, to accompany the victim, or to intervene on behalf of the victim to resolve the conflict.
- Chain of command. Report the behavior to immediate supervisor or others in chain of command and ask for assistance in resolving the situation.
- Filing a formal complaint. Details for filing an informal or formal complaint are included in appendix C of Army Regulation 600-20 (Army Command Policy) and follow the same procedures as for an Equal Opportunity complaint.
Filing an Informal Complaint of Sexual Harassment
Informal complaints of sexual harassment involve less severe or egregious incidents that can be resolved by the individual, with the help of another, and/or by the direct resolution.
Typically, these involve something a complainant believes can be resolved through discussion, problem identification, counseling, and/or clarification of the issues. Initiating an informal complaint does not require the complainant to submit anything in writing and is not subject to timelines. These cases are typically not required to be reported to higher headquarters, but aggregate data are sometimes reported to major commands. Victim Advocates (VA) and SARCs have Victim Privilege MRE 514. When working with a Complainant, VA and SARCs are advocating. SARCs are not trained in mediation and they are not neutral due to the NOVA code of ethics.
Filing a Formal Complaint of Sexual Harassment
Formal complaints for DOD civilians, former employees, or applicants seeking employment, and certain contract employees are handled through the EEO complaint process. Details of the complaint process for Civilian personnel filing a complaint are found in AR 690-600 (Equal Employment Opportunity Discrimination Complaints). Details for military personnel filing a complaint are found in Army Regulation 600-20 (Army Command Policy) and follow the same procedures as an Equal Opportunity complaint.
The formal military complaint requires use of DA Form 7279(Equal Opportunity Complaint Form), and claimants must swear to the accuracy of their allegations. The process contains specific timelines, and commands are required to include specific documentation. All formal sexual harassment complaints are report able to higher headquarters.
Filing an Anonymous Complaint of Sexual Harassment
Anonymous complaint is defined as a report of sexual harassment, regardless of the means of transmission, from an unknown/unidentified source. The individual reporting the information is not required to divulge any PII. The anonymous report can be submitted by any means from an unidentified complainant. Actions taken regarding anonymous complaints will depend upon the extent of information provided by complainants. If an anonymous complaint contains sufficient information (for example,who, what, when, where, desired outcome, unit(s) of assignment for the complainant and the subject) to permit the initiation of an investigation, the investigation will be initiated by the commanding officer in accordance with 10 USC 1561. If the anonymous complaint does not contain sufficient information to permit the initiation of an inquiry or investigation, the individual making the anonymous complaint will be notified if possible. The complainant may be the person subjected to sexual harassment or may be a third party witness. An anonymous complaint can be provided to any source but may only be processed by Chain of command, SHARP Office, Inspector General (IG).
If you have any questions about the Sexual Harassment Complaint Process,please contact your unit SARC.
WHAT IS SEXUAL ASSAULT?
Sexual Assault is intentional sexual contact characterized by the use of force,threats, intimidation, or abuse of authority or when the victim does not or cannot consent. The term includes a broad category of sexual offenses consisting of the following specific UCMJ offenses: rape, sexual assault,aggravated sexual contact, abusive sexual contact, forcible sodomy (forced oral or anal sex), or attempts to commit these offenses.
WHAT SHOULD I DO?
If you have been sexually assaulted or think you have been, go to a safe location away from the perpetrator. If you want to talk with someone or want assistance, you have individuals who are ready to help. Make sure you understand the difference between a restricted and unrestricted report so that those you reach out to will understand your needs and can best assist you.
You may contact your local Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC), Victim Advocate (VA) or healthcare provider. Your communication with the SARC, VA, or healthcare provider is privileged and confidential except in specific circumstances. While a chaplain cannot take a restricted report, communication with a chaplain are privileged under the Military Rules of Evidence 503 or applicable statutes and regulations when they are made confidentially and as a formal act of religion or as a matter of conscience. Chaplains may not disclose a confidential or privileged communication revealed in the practice of their ministry without the individual's informed consent.
You may also contact your chain of command or law enforcement (military or civilian); however, if you contact your chain of command or law enforcement, an investigation will occur, and you will not have the option of making a restricted report.
Seek medical care as soon as possible. Even if, like many sexual assault victims, you do not have any visible physical injuries, you may be at risk of becoming pregnant or acquiring a sexually transmitted disease. Ask the healthcare provider to conduct a sexual assault forensic examination to preserve forensic evidence in case you decide later that you want to file an unrestricted report of sexual assault which may lead to prosecution. If you suspect you may have been drugged, request that a urine sample be collected. Preserve all evidence of the assault. Even if you feel an intense need to clean yourself, do not bathe, wash your hands, eat, drink, or brush your teeth. Do not clean or straighten up the crime scene. You may not be thinking clearly due to the trauma, so taking these steps at the outset will help preserve evidence that investigators or law enforcement personnel may need to collect in the event that you file an unrestricted report.
HOW CAN I REPORT SEXUAL ASSAULT?
Restricted reporting allows a sexual assault victim to confidentially disclose the details of his or her assault to specified individuals and receive medical treatment and counseling, without triggering the official investigative process. Sexual assault victims who are sexually assaulted and desire restricted reporting under this policy may only report the assault to the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC), Victim Advocate (VA), or a Healthcare Provider (HCP). However, consistent with current policy, they may also report the assault to a chaplain. Although a report to a chaplain is not a restricted report under this policy or the provisions of this Directive, it is a communication that may be protected under the Military Rules of Evidence (MRE) 503 or applicable statutes and regulations. The restricted reporting process does not affect any privilege recognized under the MRE. This Directive and its policy on restricted reporting is in addition to the current protections afforded privileged communications with a chaplain, and does not alter or affect those protections.
Healthcare providers will initiate the appropriate care and treatment, and report the sexual assault to the SARC in lieu of reporting the assault to law enforcement or the command. Upon notification of a reported sexual assault, the SARC will immediately assign a VA to the victim. The assigned Victim Advocate will provide accurate information on the process of restricted.
At the victim’s discretion/request an appropriately trained healthcare provider shall conduct asexual assault forensic examination (SAFE), which may include the collection of evidence. In the absence of a DoD provider, the service member will be referred to an appropriate civilian facility for the SAFE.
Who May Make a Restricted Report?
Restricted reporting is available at this time to military personnel of the Armed Forces and military dependents age 18 and older who are eligible for treatment in the military healthcare system, who were victims of sexual assault perpetrated by someone other than a spouse or intimate partner. Military personnel include members on active duty and members of the Reserve component (Reserve and National Guard). Guard and Reserve Component members will be eligible to receive limited Sexual Harassment Assault Response & Prevention (SHARP) support services from a SARC and a SAPR VA and are eligible to file a Restricted or Unrestricted Report if they are reporting a sexual assault that occurred prior to, or while not performing active service or inactive training. SHARP services are those that are provided by a SARC or SAPR VA.
At this time, retired members of any component are not eligible for a restricted report. DOD civilians are currently not eligible to make a restricted report.
Considerations When Electing a Restricted Report
- You receive appropriate medical treatment, advocacy, legal assistance, and counseling.
- It provides some personal space and time to consider your options and to begin the healing process.
- It empowers you to seek relevant information and support to make informed decisions about whether you want to participate in a criminal investigation.
- You control the release and management of your personal information.
- You decide whether and when to move forward with initiating an investigation.
- It can establish a record important for future potential Veteran benefits and treatment.
- Your assailant remains unpunished.
- You cannot receive a military protective order.
- You may continue to have contact with your assailant, if he/she is in your organization or billeted with you.
- Evidence from the crime scene where the assault occurred may be lost, and the official investigation, should you switch to an unrestricted report, will likely encounter significant obstacles.
- You will not be able to discuss the assault with anyone in your chain of command without imposing an obligation on them to report the incident, and some commands have requirements that impose this duty on all Soldiers, to include your friends. The only exceptions would be chaplains, designated healthcare providers, your assigned SHARP/VA specialist, and the SARC/SHARP specialist.
- You will be ineligible to invoke the collateral misconduct provision of DOD’s sexual assault policy in the event that your command learns that you had been engaged in some form of misconduct at the time you were assaulted.
- You are not eligible for a potential expedited transfer.
This option is for victims of sexual assault who desire medical treatment, counseling, legal assistance, SARC/SHARP specialist and VA/SHARP Specialist assistance, and an official investigation of the crime. When selecting unrestricted reporting, you may report the incident to the SARC/SHARP Specialist or VA/SHARP Specialist,request healthcare providers to notify law enforcement, contact law enforcement yourself, or use current reporting channels, e.g., chain of command. Upon notification of a reported sexual assault, the SARC/SHARP Specialist will immediately assign a VA/SHARP Specialist. You will also be advised of your right to access to legal assistance that is separate from prosecution resources. At the victim's discretion/request, the healthcare provider shall conduct a sexual assault forensic examination (SAFE), which may include the collection of evidence. Details regarding the incident will be limited to only those personnel who have a legitimate need to know.
Role of the SARC/SHARP Specialist
The SARC/SHARP specialist is considered the center of gravity when it comes to ensuring that victims of sexual assault receive appropriate and responsive care. They serve as the single point of contact to coordinate sexual assault victim care.
Role of the Victim Advocate/SHARP Specialist
The VA/SHARP specialist provides essential support and care to the victim, providing non-clinical information on available reporting options, unit transfer options and procedures, and resources to assist the victim in making informed decisions as they progress through resolution and healing. The VA/SHARP specialist maintains communications and contact with the victim as needed for continued victim support. They also explain document and evidence retention so that the victim understands what documentation and evidence are retained and for how long and that the identity of anyone electing restricted reporting will be protected throughout.
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