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Sexual Assault and Harassment Prevention in the U.S. Armed Forces

Written by: Federal Practice Group
Written by: Federal Practice Group

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Question: 'How do you think we're doing in our sexual assault and harassment prevention programs?'

Answer: 'We're failing.'

According to, during his recent trip to Wiesbaden Army Air Field, Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond F. Chandler, the most senior U.S. Army enlisted, posed this question and provided this answer.

Two recent suicides of minority Servicemembers, Lance Cpl. Harry Lew and Pvt. Danny Chen, demonstrate that when senior leaders fail to stop open, ongoing and physical harassment based on one's ethnicity, brand new Servicemembers often decide to commit suicide. In this case, 2 Servicemembers were harassed, in part, because of their Asian origin.

Retired Army Major General Antonio Taguba believes that the senior leaders in their respective chains of command for the 2 Servicemembers must investigate how they failed to take action in response to the ongoing harassment. Major General (retired) Taguba serves on the diversity commission.

For Sergeant Major Chandler the solution lies in individual Servicemembers, not Service policies. It is for individual Servicemembers to take action. Even the most comprehensive policy on harassment prevention needs individual action.

Sergeant Major Chandler recognizes that sometimes even good Servicemembers make mistakes and that their career should not be over after one mistake. However, according to him, the focus must shift towards what he calls 'repeat offenders' '… if you're a repeat offender, you've got to go."

The Federal Practice Group remains committed to providing quality legal services to Servicemembers who experience any form of harassment while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

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