What is Sexual Assault?
Sexual Assault is a crime. Army Regulation 600-20 Army Command Policy defines Sexual Assault as intentional sexual contact, characterized by use of force, physical threat or abuse of authority, or when the victim does not or cannot consent. Consent should not be deemed or construed to mean the failure by the victim to offer physical resistance. Additionally, consent is not given when a person uses force, threat of force, coercion or when the victim is asleep, incapacitated, or unconscious.
According to the Department of Defense definition of sexual assault, the crime is described as rape, nonconsensual sodomy (oral or anal sex), indecent assault (e.g., unwanted and inappropriate sexual contact or fondling), or attempts to commits these acts. Sexual assault can occur without regard to gender, spousal relationship, or age of victim.
Other sex-related offenses are defined as all other sexual acts or acts in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice that do not meet the above definition of sexual assault, or the definition of sexual harassment as promulgated in Department of Defense Directive 1350.2, DoD Military Equal Opportunity, paragraph E2.1.15 (for the specific articles of sexual assault offenses under the UCMJ, see the Manual for Courts-Martial).
What should I do if I know someone who has been sexually assaulted?
You should report immediately any activity that indicates a sexual assault may take place or has taken place.
You should also remember the following:
- Get assistance for the victim, but never leave the victim alone.
- Support the victim and show respect, but don’t be overly protective.
- Demonstrate empathy by concentrating on helping your friend, fellow Soldier, or colleague.
- Listen to the victim and take the allegations seriously, without asking the victim for details.
- Do not make judgments about the victim or the alleged offender.
- Encourage the victim to report the crime; however you should report the sexual assault to the proper authorities.
- Protect the victim’s confidentiality by not discussing the assault with anyone, except the authorities.
- Repeat this message to the victim: You are not to blame!
Remember: The safety of your fellow Soldiers, your unit, and your community may depend on your reporting of these incidents. You should report any suspicious behavior immediately.
Can a person who has been sexually assaulted a year ago still report it?
Sexual assault can be reported at any time. Once Criminal Investigative Division or medical staff is notified of a sexual assault, the procedures are the same regardless of the amount of time since the assault. Soldiers should be encouraged to come forward as soon as possible, so that all possible evidence is collected and preserved before it is lost, destroyed or altered. Early reporting also provides the best opportunity to gather testimony from possible witnesses before their memories fade or they move to other locations. Delayed reporting makes it more difficult to investigate the incident and reduces the ability to prosecute the case. However, victims are strongly encouraged to report crimes, no matter how long after an assault occurred, and CID agents will do their best to investigate the incident and provide a factual and actionable report to the appropriate judicial authority. Even late reporting can impact other investigations and may assist in identifying and prosecuting a criminal.
Be on the look-out for weekly information posted about the Army’s EO and SHARP programs and initiatives specific to the National Training Center and Fort Irwin Community.
Questions comments or concerns pertaining to this and future articles should be directed to the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment Equal Opportunity Advisor at 380-2513 or darryl.a.avery.mil@.mail.mil.