DOD and Army Prevention and Response to Sexual Assault of Military Men

The Department of Defense (DOD), the Army, and all branches of military service are fully committed to supporting all members of the military family who have experienced sexual assault. With the release of the DOD Plan to Prevent and Respond to Sexual Assault of Military Men, the DOD publicly proclaims its commitment to develop research-based, male trauma specific programs and services to better serve men who have experienced sexual assault. It revolves around four key objectives:

  • Objective 1: Develop a unified communications plan to extend outreach to military men to encourage them to seek support and report incidents
  • Objective 2: Improve service member understanding of sexual assault of military men to debunk the misconceptions, myths and stigmas associated with sexual assault of men
  • Objective 3: Ensure existing support services meet the needs of male service members who experience sexual assault
  • Objective 4: Develop metrics to assess prevention and response efforts pertaining to men who experience sexual assault

These objectives will help fill the gap in services dedicated to military men who have experienced a sexual assault. The plan was released in December 2016 and will be implemented over the 2017 and 2018 calendar years with continuing evaluations to measure effectiveness.

Army Strategies

The Army is deeply dedicated to addressing this issue head on using a broad approach through efforts focused on prevention and response including trainings, leadership engagement and policy updates. Specifically, the Army has updated SHARP training materials to include scenarios for men who have been sexually assaulted, including virtual trainings that offer an interactive experience such as the Emergent Leader Immersive Training Environment (ELITE), Command Team Trainer (CTT), ELITE Prevention & Outreach Simulation Trainer (POST) and ELITE Bystander Resource (BRAVE) which places command teams and Soldiers in a virtual environment to learn their roles and responsibilities in supporting men who have been sexually assaulted or harassed, and the Digital Survivor of Sexual Assault (DS2A) Project, which features a male survivor hologram that responds to questions asked by participants.

The Army SHARP Outreach hosts several webinar training sessions focused on male sexual assault and offers outreach materials focused on sexual assault and men, including brochures, posters and public service announcements, available to SHARP professionals for use at outreach events, in offices or to distribute on Army installations or other relevant locations.

In effort to reduce stigma and encourage an open dialogue, the Army hosts panel discussions, guest speakers and other outreach events featuring men who have experienced sexual assault. These efforts are aimed at changing the dialogue around male sexual assault and raising awareness of the prevalence of this issue and at the same time, reducing stigma surrounding it and encouraging increased discussions at both the leadership level and throughout all levels of the Army.