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Core military values demand end to blight of sexual assaults

Published: 11:11AM March 27th, 2014

Whether you’re a Soldier, Airman, Sailor or Marine, active or reserve component or retired, throughout your career you’ve been trained to take charge and do what’s necessary wherever you are, on the job or off.

U.S. service members live by the core values that make each service component the professional fighting force it is. That’s why you step up and do what’s needed.

We have a new mission priority — help rid the Department of Defense of a blight known as sexual assault. How? By understanding the problem, getting involved when circumstances arise, and enforcing a climate that prevents sexual assault.

To promote this mission, DOD is joining a national effort to make April 2014 “Sexual Assault Awareness Month.” DOD’s campaign theme is “Live Our Values: Step Up to Stop Sexual Assault.”

DOD’s senior civilian leader believes awareness, involvement, and accountability are key elements in a drive that will prevent this criminal activity. These elements will also encourage service members to actively engage in sexual assault prevention. Finally, it also seeks to create an environment more supportive to sexual assault victims.

“We need cultural change where every service member is treated with dignity and respect, where all allegations of inappropriate behavior are treated with seriousness, where privacy of victims is protected, where bystanders are motivated to intervene, and where offenders know they will be held accountable by strong and effective systems of justice,” said Chuck Hagel, Secretary of Defense.

Such a cultural shift will require everyone’s active involvement to make DOD’s zero tolerance policy toward sexual assault a reality.

“(DOD) does not tolerate, condone or ignore sexual assault. We must “Live Our Values” every day, all year long and “Step Up” by intervening when appropriate, reporting crimes and supporting victims. When we all get involved, we will move the department closer to a culture free of sexual assault,” said Jessica L. Wright, acting Under Secretary of Defense.

DOD’s leadership is emphasizing the following areas:

Live our Values


• Service members at every level must adhere to Service values and standards of behavior

• All service members — from new recruit to general officer — must live the core values of our profession: integrity, trust, dignity, respect, fidelity and courage.

• DOD professional values, team commitment and respect must define how we treat one another at every command, workplace and throughout our military community.

Step up


• Everyone has a role in preventing and responding to sexual assault and must intervene to reduce risk, stop inappropriate behavior and report crimes.

• Bystander intervention is vital in helping stop unsafe behavior.

• A service member’s decision to act could prevent a sexual assault.

Stop Sexual Assault


• Our aim is to reduce, with a goal to eliminate, sexual assault in the armed forces.

• To prevent sexual assault, everyone must be committed to advancing a culture where sexist behaviors, sexual harassment and sexual assault are not tolerated.

• Sexual assault is not only inappropriate, it is criminal behavior DOD’s intent is to promote a cultural change at all levels throughout the ranks that will create an environment where sexual assault is seen for what it truly is — criminal behavior.