The U.S. Army’s Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) Program

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The U.S army adopted the Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program in 2008 and has put it into practice since then as an effective way of addressing the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment cases among its ranks. The underlying mission of the SHARP program is to completely eliminate the social injustice issue of sexual offenses committed in the army through prevention, cultural changes, investigation, intervention, advocacy, accountability, assessment, as well as training to sustain “All-Volunteer Force.” Reports on the efficacy of the program indicate that SHARP has contributed significantly towards increased reporting and awareness on sexual offenses. However, there are looming claims from the research completed by the Department of Defense indicating that the prevalence of harassment and assault has not declined significantly over the years. The report, therefore, depicts that although SHARP is striving to achieve its mandate, it has some weaknesses that ought to be addressed for it to be more effective. Hence, the undertaking of the assignment seeks to evaluate one of the major weaknesses of SHARP and provides at least three solutions that can be used to address the weakness.
An in-depth analysis of the SHARP program report shows that one of the greatest weakness of the program is the existence of a significant number of cultural norms in the Army and military in general that continue to propagate the existence of male masculinity and gender inequality concept within its environs. The finding creates an analogy that although SHARP program is quite effective and fundamental in educating soldiers on the existence of sexual violence, the program does not target the gendered and societal norms that have been in existence in the Army, which perpetuate a culture that is conducive to assault and harassment. Evidently, the aforementioned failure of SHARP means that the program has minimal positive influence on reducing the number of assault and harassment incidents and as such, solutions should be sort to avert the situation and to enhance the ability of SHARP to attain its mission.