Open letter from Ft. Bliss Commander addresses sexual assaults

Saturday, June 22, 2013 - 11:36pm

Fort Bliss Commander Major General Sean McFarland is speaking out about sexual harassment and sexual assaults in the U.S. Army and in an open letter, said he intends to hold leaders responsible for protecting fellow soldiers.

McFarland addressed what are known as insider attacks, or crimes between soldiers. He outlined a program developed in Afghanistan called "Guardian Angel" in which a soldier is assigned to watch over an area believed to be at risk of an insider attack.

He said it is the responsibility of the senior soldier in any group, no matter the rank, to designate a guardian angel or battle buddy.

McFarland also made it clear that soldiers who have experienced sexual harassment or sexual assault are not victims.

A portion of the letter reads, "The word victim carries a stigma that does not help with prevention or treatment of wounds. It also implies helplessness and warriors who are members of the greatest Army in history are not helpless."

The letter comes days before Fort Bliss will observe Sexual Assault Stand Down Day, which will be on Monday.

The full letter is attached below.

CG's SHARP Stand Down Letter 21 JUN 13.pdf585.46 KB

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