Ft. Bliss raises sexual assault awareness by holding a stand-down
Top military leaders have been in talks with Congress to curb a disturbing trend: the rise of sexual assaults in the armed forces
Military bases around the world are taking a day to recognize sexual assault and Fort Bliss will be one of them.
According to a U.S Army report, the rate of violent sexual crime has increased 64 percent since 2006.
Monday Ft. bliss will be having a stand-down for sexual assault awareness.
"It's about the trust that we have between each other, we can't operate without having the complete trust between every soldier in the Army so this is our number one priority," said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno.
Odierno spoke openly about what he calls an internal attack, an alarming spike in sexual assaults among servicemen and women.
The Defense Department recently released these figures.
Sexual assaults rose from 19,000 in 2011 to 26,000 in 2012.
The numbers inspired talks between Congress and top military officials earlier this month and only weeks after Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, who ran Air Force's sexual assault prevention and response office, was arrested and charged with sexual battery.
In a recent visit to Ft. Bliss, Odierno addressed a new focus on sexual assault.
"First caring for the victims, that we take every allegation seriously, that we will investigate every allegation , and we will protect the victims," said Odierno.
Odierno also had a stern warning for offenders.
"And that those who tolerate it will be punished and frankly will no longer be part of our Army," said Odierno.
Rep. Beto O'Rourke also weighed in on the issue.
"We just recently voted on the National Defense Authorization Act and there were some tough provisions to crack down on sexual harassment within all branches of the U.S. military," said O'Rourke.
Monday all servicemen and women will spend a day receiving a refresher training.
Odeirno says it'll entail much more than a presentation.
"This is about having conversations and interactive training, this is about people talking about these very difficult issues"
Senators have also recently introduced a bill to provide a military lawyer to all victims of sexual assault in the military.
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