Stopping sexual violence before it happens is the primary goal of the anti-sexual violence movement and a major undertaking for the U.S. Military. This section begins with some resources that discuss primary prevention of sexual violence. Stopping sexual violence from happening in a military setting involves change on many different levels. It means creating a space where sexual assault, sexual harassment, and gender discrimination will not be tolerated. Researchers have discussed the factors that increase the risk of experiencing sexual assault for service members, including work and living conditions, leadership attitudes, and drug or alcohol use (Sadler, Booth, Cook, & Doebelling, 2003). Efforts that seek to change patterns of behavior and systems that condone violence may prevent sexual harassment and sexual assault. The second section provides examples of programs and actions that military installations have taken to prevent sexual assault and recommendations for how to accomplish this goal within the VA Health System. The final section offers sample campaign materials used within military settings to educate service members and motivate them to prevent sexual assaults against others. These changes reflect attempts to change the culture and climate of a system by addressing some of the root causes of sexual violence.
Primary prevention basics