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Hosts: Scott LaMar and Mary Wilson

Smart Talk: Army aims to reduce sex assaults

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Mar 31, 2014 2:41 PM

What to look for on Smart Talk Tuesday, April 1, 2014:

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Last year the Pentagon estimated there were 26,000 service women and men who were sexually assaulted in 2012.  However, fewer than 3,400 actually reported assaults to their superiors.

That means military members are even more hesitant than civilians to report sexual crimes.

Many feared they would be retaliated against, humiliated, or blamed for causing the assault themselves.

However, the number of cases that have come to light have left many demanding reforms.

Last month, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved legislation that strengthens prosecution of sex assaults in the military.

The services branches have taken notice and have responded with their own awareness programs.

As part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Smart Talk takes a closer look at the U.S. Army's Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention or SHARP program.

Major General Tony Cucolo, Commandant of the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle and Command Sergeant Major Dwayne Parrish appear on the program.

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Sergeant Major Dwayne Parrish & Major General Tony Cucolo

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Comments: 3

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-04-01 08:54

    Mary Jean emails:

    I was rotc commissioned officer - reserve officer - for ten years. I am married to an active duty officer and I am a high school teacher.
    Congratulations to the military for moving in the right direction.
    When a young person joins the military they have joined a new family. These young people may not have come from a family with the same values rules and culture that the military holds. The key really is teaching that soldier Airmen sailor the ethics values rules and consequences of their new family.
    The second thing the military should be teaching (continuing to teach) all new recriuts enlisted and officer alike, Is how to use thier voice appropriately. Eliminate excessive cussing, teach how to address authority with respect and strength. We should get (more) classes about use/navigate systems... military, government, legal, etc. So in military service and in life, prior service people have these life skills: respect perseverance authority humility

  • Scott LaMar img 2014-04-01 09:26

    During the program, a Navy veteran who was assaulted in 1978 called and I asked whether a veteran could seek treatment or therapy or other services. The U.S. Army War College provided this information:
    MG Cucolo said there was a question about assistance to veterans that have left the service. Wanted to get this information to you from the Veteran’s Administration with the CMDT’s compliments:

    • Military sexual trauma (MST) is the term that the Department of Veterans Affairs uses to refer to sexual assault or repeated, threatening sexual harassment that occurred while the Veteran was in the military. It includes any sexual activity where someone is involved against his or her will – he or she may have been pressured into sexual activities (for example, with threats of negative consequences for refusing to be sexually cooperative or with implied faster promotions or better treatment in exchange for sex), may have been unable to consent to sexual activities (for example, when intoxicated), or may have been physically forced into sexual activities.

    • All Veterans seen at Veterans Health Administration facilities are asked about experiences of sexual trauma because we know that any type of trauma can affect a person’s physical and mental health, even many years later. We also know that people can recover from trauma.

    • The VA has free services to help Veterans do this.

    • You do not need to have a VA disability rating (be “service connected”) to receive these services and may be able to receive services even if you are not eligible for other VA care.

    • You do not need to have reported the incident(s) when they happened or have other documentation that they occurred.

    • VA has a range of services available to meet Veterans where they are at in their recovery, to include outpatient and residential/inpatient care.

    • Knowing that MST survivors may have special needs and concerns, every VA health care facility has an MST Coordinator who serves as a contact person for MST-related issues. He or she can help Veterans find and access VA services and programs.

    • You can also contact your local Vet Center or speak to your existing VA health care provider.

  • Gina Stewart img 2014-04-01 09:30

    Good morning. There are just a couple of things I would like to add on this subject. First, despite the outcome of any previous trial, there are many benefits to a person reporting an incident of sexual assault, including medical care, safety, the transfer of the Victim or subject to another unit, and continuity of support from their victim advocate and community organizations. The military offers more support for sexual assault than any other workplace. Nobody trains on consent and bystander intervention and/or promotes awareness quite like we do and that is something for which I am very proud. The caller who was assaulted in 1978 can and should call a VA Hospital and get support and care for that experience. We want service members to get the help they need to heal and we stand by And serve them regardless of how long ago the incident occurred. Last year, the military estimated that there were 26,000 sexual assaults within our branches. The United States had an estimated 237,868 (that is one sexual assault every two minutes). This is not a military problem. It is a problem in our society, the same society from which we recruit. I am so proud of the services the military offers to Victims, and so proud that the majority of commanders that I have dealt with jump feet first to hold subjects accountable. MG Cucolo and MG Craig are great representations of the military support we have in PA and we are fighting this battle as best we can for those who come forward and report. SARC - PA National Guard.

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