Ft. Campbell Leaders Urge Sexual Assault Victims To Come Forward - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Ft. Campbell Leaders Urge Sexual Assault Victims To Come Forward

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by Adam Ghassemi

FT. CAMPBELL, Ky. The acting commander at Fort Campbell is urging any victim of sexual assault or harassment to come forward.

"You shouldn't feel reluctant to come forth with a complaint against anyone who's done wrong to you," Brigadier General Mark Stammer said Thursday.

Stammer along with a panel of experts outlined what the Army is doing to make sure violators know their behavior won't be tolerated.

"We're talking about a few people, but those few people left unchecked can cause tremendous negative impact within the unit. A cancer if you will, a poison if you will, and they can't be tolerated in the formation," Stammer said.

The Army is promoting its SHARP Program, Sexual Harassment / Assault Response and Prevention Program, this week.

The Pentagon recently estimated that 26,000 military members may have been sexually assaulted in 2012.

The campaign comes as Congress calls for military leaders to fix an admitted sexual assault crisis. Members said the military's justice system has failed because victims are afraid to speak up.

"You have lost the trust of the men and women who rely on you that you will actually bring justice in these cases," Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, (D) New York, said during a recent hearing.

On post, officials said things are changing. They point out reporting is on the rise partly because more victims now feel confident.

"I think that change is occurring. It's a slow change, but it is occurring," said Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Provider Denise Lyons.

"A lot of what is considered an increased number of sexual assaults is actually a little bit of an increase in comfort in coming forward," she said.

Stammer and others hope the approach means problems within the 101st Airborne Division are changing.

"When someone in and among us chooses to operate or behave outside the bounds of our values and laws we can't hesitate on moving that guy or gal out of the system either," said the Brig. Gen.

Link: DoD Workplace and Gender Relations Survey Results

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