The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

West Point combats sexual assault war front

By Michael Riddick/reporter

Cadet Nicole Zajimovic, USMA class of 2016, discussed an initiative beginning in 2012 to combat sexual harassment at the academy called Cadets Against Sexual Harassment/Assault, which is an extension of an Armywide program, Sexual Harassment Assault Response and Prevention.

“If you start making people aware of it, then eventually the culture will begin to change,” she said.

Within CASH/A, cadets are taught what is appropriate language, how best to report sexual assaults or harassment and support for survivors of sexual assault. Survivors is a term preferred by CASH/A organizers as opposed to victims as a form of morale booster.

According to Zajimovic, CASH/A started as a small group of cadets who wanted to foster mutual respect and professionalism between genders within the male-dominated academy.

She served as a CASH/A representative for her company during the program’s second year, which is when it was fully integrated into the academy’s character curriculum. Every company now has a CASH/A representative, 36 total.

Harry Johnson, USMA class of 1994, said changes in Army policy allowing women into frontline combat arms such as infantry and armor make programs like SHARP and CASH/A critical for developing a more inclusive and cohesive military.

“The direction for this initiative is all the more important because of the change in the Army where they are allowing females into combat arms,” he said.

The frontline culture of the Army previously was described as “testosterone-driven” by Johnson. These programs aim to curb that culture.

“We have programs such as this to up the bar in professionalism as women are promoted into those branches,” he said.

Cadets are also participating in the national “It’s On Us” campaign to end sexual assault. Cadets wore their teal-colored T-shirts in support of the campaign at the recent Army-Air Force football game.

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