Behavioral Health

Sexual Assault/Sexual Harassment

Last Updated: December 15, 2017
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National Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)

National Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) is an annual campaign to raise awareness and educate communities on the prevention of sexual violence. The Army, in conjunction with the Department of Defense (DOD), is implementing the new 2013 SAAM theme "We own it ... We'll solve it ... Together," which is designed to strengthen the collective moral and ethical commitment, in keeping with Army Values and Warrior Ethos, to show respect and dignity for every Soldier, Department of the Army Civilians, their family members, and the nation that the Army serves.

Sexual Harassment defined:

Sexual harassment can take many forms, ranging from persistent jokes of a sexual nature to physical assault.  It may involve unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or threats that you may lose your job or not be promoted.  Sexual harassment creates confusion because the boundary between professional roles and personal relationships can be blurred. 

Sexual Assault defined:

Sexual assault may include attacks such as rape or attempted rape, as well as any unwanted sexual contact or threats.  Usually a sexual assault occurs when someone touches any part of another person's body in a sexual way, without that person's consent. Some types of sexual acts which fall into the category of sexual assault include forced sexual intercourse (rape), sodomy, child molestation, incest and attempted rape.  Assailants can be strangers, friends, acquaintances and family members.  Assailants commit sexual assault by using violence, threats, manipulation or coercion.  Sexual assault happens without the person's consent, including if someone is unconscious or drugged.

Policy described:

Domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking have the potential to affect every Federal workplace across the United States. It is the policy of the Federal Government to promote the health and safety of its employees by acting to prevent domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking within the workplace and by providing support and assistance to Federal employees whose working lives are affected by such violence.  As the nation’s largest employer, the Federal Government should act as a model in responding to the effects of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking in the workplace.


OPM: Guidance for Agency-Specific Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking Policies External Link provides agencies with direction to enable them to fulfill the goals identified in the Presidential Memorandum on "Establishing Policies for Addressing Domestic Violence in the Federal Workforce," which was issued on April 18, 2012.

OPM: Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking Policy Resource List External Link

DOD: Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office External Link

Army: SHARP ProgramExternal Link

MEDCOM: SHARP ProgramExternal Link (AKO password protected)

National Sexual Violence Resource CenterExternal Link - Provides national leadership, consultation and technical assistance by generating and facilitating the development and flow of information on sexual violence intervention and prevention strategies. The NSVRC works to address the causes and impact of sexual violence through collaboration, prevention efforts and the distribution of resources.

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TDD)

National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - National Women's Health Information Center:External Link 1-800-994-9662
Contact informationExternal Link for state and territory crisis centers, organizations and hotlines can be found on this website. 

Sexual Assault Products - Sexual assault posters and a tip card are available from the Health Information Products e-Catalog You may download the posters and include your local contact information or order them printed. 




 Chief of Staff of the Army Message

Over the last twelve years of war, our Army has demonstrated exceptional competence, courage, and resiliency in adapting to the demands of war and accomplishing the mission.  Today, however, the Army is failing in its efforts to combat sexual assault and sexual harassment.  It is time we take on the fight against sexual assault and sexual harassment as our primary mission.  It is up to every one of us, civilian and Soldier, general officer to private, to solve this problem within our ranks.  

The Army is committed to the safety and security of every Soldier, civilian, and family member.  Our Army is based on a bedrock of trust - the trust between Soldiers and leaders that we will take care of each other.  Recent incidents of sexual assault and sexual harassment demonstrate that we have violated that trust.  In fact, these acts violate everything our Army stands for.  They are contrary to our Army Values and they must not be tolerated.

 It is up to every individual to contribute to a culture in which our Soldiers, civilians, and family members can reach their full potential.  It is imperative that we protect potential victims from ever experiencing a sexual crime.  We must provide compassionate care and protect survivors after a crime has been committed.  Our people must be confident that complaints will be handled quickly and decisively, and that our system will deliver justice and protection throughout the reporting, investigation and adjudication process.

Commanders, non-commissioned officers, and law enforcement must ensure that every allegation of sexual assault and sexual harassment is thoroughly and professionally investigated and that appropriate action is taken.  Leaders at every level are responsible for establishing a command climate and culture of mutual respect, trust, and safety.  Leaders must develop systems to "see" their units, and understand the extent to which their leadership promotes a positive command climate for all Soldiers.  I urge everyone to start a conversation within your unit or organization, among leaders, peers, and subordinates and with family and friends to better understand one another's experiences and to develop better solutions to this problem.

Our profession is built on the bedrock of trust; sexual assault and sexual harassment betray that trust.  They have a corrosive effect on our unit readiness, team cohesion, good order and discipline.  We are entrusted with ensuring the health and welfare of America's sons and daughters.  There are no bystanders in this effort.  Our Soldiers, their families, and the American people are counting on us to lead the way in solving this problem within our ranks.

Raymond T. Odierno

General, 38th Chief of Staff

U.S. Army