I had the opportunity to attend the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) Summit at West Point this fall as a Cadets Against Sexual Assault (CASA) representative. This opportunity allowed me to gauge the Academy’s program against the other military academies while also discussing ways that military institutions as a whole can improve on sexual-related issues. The USCGA has a much higher percentage of cadets who are able to take restricted reports from victims than at the U.S. Military Academy. There are approximately 163 interested/ trained cadets with 100% of them being volunteers at the USCGA. In contrast, there are about 36 cadets designated to take restricted reports at the USMA. The Superintendent of West Point stressed the importance of finding the medium between gender avoidance and sexual harassment/assault. The goal of the Superintendent is to have every assault reported. His proposal for accomplishing this is to change the behavior of cadets so that culture changes. This starts with discussing healthy relationships and the dangers of the collegiate “hook-up” culture.
At the Coast Guard Academy, CASA members have come together to promote healthy relationships so that our Academy upholds the highest standards of respect for one another. CASA gives several awareness trainings throughout the academic year. This year we have joined the “It’s On Us” campaign to take a pledge as a corps against sexual assault. The past couple years we have had a huge Take Back the Night event in April (Sexual Assault Awareness Month) to again bring awareness to this issue and also promote looking out for one another. With regard to sexual assault, I personally feel very safe at this Academy and would choose it above all the other service academies. Throughout my four years here, I have not heard so much as even a sexual slander, and I whole heartedly believe that we are the model institution for gender equality.
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