HomeNewsArticle Display

Sexual assault has No place in DOD, official says

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Sexual assault has no place in the Defense Department, a senior Pentagon official said April 2 here, calling on the workforce to be part of the solution.

In a keynote address kicking off Aberdeen Proving Ground's observance of National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, acting Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jessica L. Wright said sexual assault is a national issue that also affects the Defense Department's military and civilian workforce.

The theme for this year's observance -- underscored in a message that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel sent to the Department's workforce today is, "We own it ... we'll solve it ... together."

"Although we address sexual assault in the month of April, this is an issue that needs to be addressed every day of our lives," Wright told an audience of service members and civilian employees.

The Defense Department is a microcosm of America, she added, where employees bring their values and how they were raised to the workforce.

"I often say if we're in Afghanistan and we (see) something unsafe, (or) not akin to the values we have grown up with, we would tell that person to stop what they're doing, because they're going to affect our well-being and their well-being," she said. "Yet when we are here in the United States, and we do something that's not akin to ... values in a social network, sometimes we have a hard time crossing that boundary and saying, 'This affects the life of a service member or a civilian we work with, and it's inappropriate.'"

The Defense Department doesn't condone sexual assault, Wright said. "We don't tell jokes of a sexual nature, we don't condone unwanted sexual behaviors, and we clearly don't condone sexual assault."

Just as everyone knows people who drink a lot of coffee, exercise a great deal or are "Facebook junkies," Wright said, everyone also knows someone who doesn't live by the Defense Department's values and ethos.

"I ask that if you know that person, tell (him or her) to stop it, and make sure you report bad behavior should you see it," she said. "That's the only way we're going to stop it."

Wright said she joined the military in 1975 as a member of the Women's Army Corps, at a time when having a drink at the post club was condoned. "But in our military now, ... we don't condone drinking (or) drinking and driving. We don't have those social things like we used to, because it's just not who we are," she said.

The military culture has changed radically with regard to drug and alcohol problems and racial tensions it had in the past, Wright said, adding that she doesn't see sexual assault any differently.

"I ask each and every one of you to take back a message with you today that says, 'Every single day, we don't condone (sexual assault),'" she said.

Sexual assault awareness and prevention must be part of all levels in the organization, she added, whether employees work with a small group in an office or in a field situation.

"We have a sexual assault problem," Wright said. "We need to jump on top of it and stop it. And it is incumbent upon all of you to do it."

Engage

Facebook Twitter
For the first time outside the U.S., #Norwegian & #USAF F-35 Lightning II maintainers worked together on an America… https://t.co/Xr8urRRq5N
RT @AF_SMC: The 3700 kg Integrated Payload Stack (IPS) for #STP2 has been completed! Have a look before it blasts off on the first #DoD Fal…
RT @AFResearchLab: Hanging out with cool kids like @HQ_AFMC at #NASASocial. 📸👇 https://t.co/7S00xr4GMu
RT @AFEnergy: If you don't measure progress, you can't affect change. #FuelMoreFight #MondayMotivation https://t.co/80sg3un0ov
The latest roundup of the best #AirForce photos is out. See them here: https://t.co/wU5rxsXJRq https://t.co/JUE9Yd0cKS
RT @WarriorCare: Have you missed some of the action? Check out our photo gallery on Flickr and get caught up on your favorite athlete makin…
#USAF Critical Care Air Transport team members, transport mother & 7-month-old son on a #C130 flight from… https://t.co/o1aNSelM1t
RT @DOD_Outreach: Pedaling on! @usairforce Capt. Heather Wright races an upright bicycle during the #DOD #WarriorGames2019 today. This is t…
#DYK, @WrightPattAFB became a Bee City in 2017, solidifying #AirForce's commitment to bee protection and revitaliza… https://t.co/jnoUyjQTiY
RT @ActingSecAF: Today the ⁦@usairforce⁩ has a historic opportunity to continue our leadership in #space & secure the final frontier for ou…
RT @DOD_Outreach: Feel the calm. 😌 @AFW2 Tech Sgt. Ricardo Rivera practices his freestyle swim techniques for today’s competition at the @…
#WarriorGames2019 Track competition is happening NOW! 🏃‍♂️💨 Head over https://t.co/jiYSkUGhmB to see it LIVE. GO… https://t.co/E2pYScoZSC
RT @WarriorCare: This isn’t your average morning run! Day 2 has started with Track competitions. We’re here at Yuengling Center at the Univ…
Our hearts go out to #TuskegeeAirman Lt. Col. (Ret.) Robert J. Friend and his family. Thank you for decades of serv… https://t.co/CUHadFr0sC
“So far, as a wing, we’ve made all this look easy. But it hasn’t been." - Maj. Michael Slotten, 421st Fighter Squad… https://t.co/7YQnJV9yel
RT @WarriorCare: The weather is hot in Tampa. Perfect for a new 2019 Warrior Games competition: Golf 🏌️‍♀️ First on the greens is Staff Sgt…
.@AF_SMC's summer is booked with four back to back launch missions. Use #SummerOfLaunch19 to track their progress… https://t.co/9LsEMIvsaf
.@TeamEglin shows how "hot pitting" helps fuel the fight in real time. https://t.co/zIQUT2v9vj