SHARP Is Real
True to form, we’ve begun with the list of stupid rules. I know it’s hard to be in charge of 100 people and know that everything they do is a reflection of your leadership. One thing the Army doesn’t realise is that you really can’t control people. People are gonna do whatever the fuck they wanna do, and it doesn’t matter what kinds of punishments you mete out. There will be people who hesitate in their actions, who consider the consequences, but for the rest, they’re either gonna hope they don’t get caught or they’re just gonna do it and who gives a shit.
I detest the fact that, generally speaking, the military does not allow individual Soldiers the attempt to be responsible and that there is a tendency to hold everyone accountable for one person’s actions. Then leadership complains that people do not do the right thing. Well, you never give anybody the chance to do the right thing. You come down hard with the hammer right up front, because you feel like you have to nip bad actions in the bud. That is the wrong way to go. When you come down too hard right away you will get the Soldiers who say, damned if I do and damned if I don’t. You will get an otherwise decent Soldier who feels like he has to break the rules because he cannot succeed any other way. Then you also have those Soldiers who grow up under the oppressive thumb of Big Army and when it is their turn to show some responsibility, they fail miserably.
A lot of you have kids, right? Or you know people with kids. Think of it this way: For all the kids who were kept under lock and key their entire lives, what’s the first thing they did the minute they got away from oppressive adult supervision? Uh, they started acting like assholes. Why? Because their parents never gave them any opportunity to learn to be responsible, so they could excel at being responsible. The parents were like, “They’re kids. They don’t know how to conduct themselves. We’d better keep them in a jailhouse environment or else they’ll ruin their lives.” No, they won’t ruin their lives. You will. And that’s how the Army operates.
Leadership gets all of us together and announces there is a midnight curfew. All Soldiers, including officers have to be in their living quarters by midnight. LOL. Seriously? The reasoning? SHARP is real.
They’re talking about sexual assault and sexual harassment, of course. I really wanted to die laughing, but really, I’m only an E6 and that actually doesn’t mean a whole lot. Because I’m fond of lists, here’s what I took away from that briefing:
You can’t get sexually assaulted or sexually harassed before midnight. Criminals and perpetrators typically follow all applicable laws and rules. They know better than to harass or attack anyone before midnight. It’s okay for me to walk around as innocent as a sweet baby lamb in broad daylight because nothing bad happens before midnight.
- If I get raped after midnight, it’s my fault. If I happen to get out of a late movie and I’m walking back to the barracks with m
- e and my battle buddies and we get attacked we only have ourselves to blame. Rapists and perverts know it’s fair game after midnight.
- I am too incompetent to conduct myself accordingly after midnight. Before midnight I’m a genius, but after midnight I turn into a bumbling idiot who runs down the street butt ass naked with the hopes no one will sexually assault me. I don’t know that I should walk with a battle buddy and that I should notify others where I am going in case of an emergency. I’m too stupid to walk from the gym to the barracks, even though the bathroom to my barracks is almost the same distance.
My leadership failed me. In all my years in the Army no one in my chain of command ever taught me a lick of sense. I never heard of a battle buddy or safety in numbers. I have no idea what SHARP is. I’m a complete idiot because my leadership didn’t teach me anything about protecting myself.
- I’m being confined for my own good. Even though I have stayed out after midnight on my last deployment (because I worked overnight shift), I really have no idea what to do. Those times I was just lucky. For my own safety, I should probably be chained to my bed. Sexual predators come out from their hiding places after midnight.
The Army believes SHARP is more about random rapists then acquaintance rape. Everything I just wrote before was tongue-in-cheek, but this one I’m actually serious about. When we watched that SHARP video at training a couple years ago, I noticed that all the incidents involved victims and perpetrators that knew each other. None of them involved a person walking down the street and some miscreant jumping out at them and raping them in the street. I don’t know the statistics on the incidents of sexual assault in the Army: whether it’s acquaintance or random, but it’s something that I think is valid. I’m more likely to be harassed/attacked by someone I know than some idiot hiding in a bunker, waiting for someone to randomly walk past. At this time I do not believe any of my peers have any nefarious designs on unsuspecting victims, but who’s to say that nothing happens out here on the job site, late in the evening (but not after midnight), or early in the morning, or any fucking time of the day when no one is around?
Or how about that long ass walk to the bathroom? If anyone actually cared about random rape then maybe we wouldn’t be so goddamn far from the toilets. Seriously, I have to pass eight male barracks before I get to the toilets. The living quarters have a key pad for entry, but the bathrooms don’t. Anybody could walk in…. like they did when I was in Iraq….and another time when I was in Kuwait, just two years ago. Dude walked in the bathroom, claiming he didn’t know that it was the female bathroom. This was at 6AM. The dude that was filming through the air vent, that was around 9 at night. So yeah. I guess they didn’t get the memo.
Were it me in charge, I would turn this thing into a teachable moment. Everything in life is a teachable moment, whether you succeed or fuck up. If you’re gonna be hanging around after dark, you need a battle buddy and you need to let someone know where you are. If you want to sit in the USO till 2AM, then hang out there till 2AM. Just don’t go skulking down in the bunkers by yourself with Kuwaiti dinar hanging out your bra.
I wish the Army would stop trying to cure the disease by killing the patient. Why doesn’t someone actually be a leader and teach some common sense? You know where sexual harassment happens? At the fucking workplace. Last deployment, the creeper who gave me a gift was at work. He did not show up at my living quarters after dark. You know where sexual assault happens? Everywhere, and at any given moment. A sexual predator is going to take whatever opportunity s/he can to do whatever. You can be assaulted on the way to work, on the way from work, hanging out in the movie theatre, or even here in these PCBs. We have already had two incidents that I know of where a member of the opposite sex was in the wrong PCB. It wasn’t midnight either.
There is no specific magic hour where bad things happen. Don’t ever get lulled into that either. I was never sexually assaulted but I was robbed in broad daylight while walking with a battle buddy. I guess nobody told that guy he wasn’t supposed to attack me until after midnight, or does that only apply to SHARP?