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To report a sexual assault through Fort Meade's 24/7 Sexual Assault Hotlines,
call (U.S. Army) 443-845-0876 , (U.S. Air Force) 240-752-2773 or (U.S. Navy) 301-419-1936

Frequently asked questions


  1. What is sexual assault?

    Sexual Assault is a crime. Sexual assault is defined as intentional sexual contact, characterized by use of force, physical threat or abuse of authority, or when the victim does not or cannot consent. Consent should not be deemed or construed to mean the failure by the victim to offer physical resistance. Additionally, consent is not given when a person uses force, threat of force, coercion or when the victim is asleep, incapacitated, or unconscious.

    Sexual assault includes rape, nonconsensual sodomy (oral or anal sex), indecent assault (e.g., unwanted and inappropriate sexual contact or fondling), or attempts to commits these acts. Sexual assault can occur without regard to gender, spousal relationship, or age of victim.*

    Other sex-related offenses are defined as all other sexual acts or acts in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) that do not meet the above definition of sexual assault, or the definition of sexual harassment as promulgated in DoD Directive 1350.2, Department of Defense Military Equal Opportunity, para E2.1.15.

    For the specific articles of sexual assault offenses under the UCMJ, see the Manual for Courts-Martial (MCM).

    (*Reference- the DoD definition for sexual assault and other sex-related offenses for all training and education purposes).

  2. What is the difference between sexual assault and sexual harassment?

    Sexual assault and sexual harassment are not the same, although they are related to each other. Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination that involves unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. For more information on sexual harassment, see Army Regulation 600-20, Chapter 7.

    There are two types of sexual harassment: Quid Pro Quo sexual harassment refers to conditions placed on a person's career or terms of employment in return for sexual favors. It involves threats of adverse actions if the victim does not submit or promises of favorable actions if the person does submit.

    Hostile Environment sexual harassment occurs when a person is subjected to offensive, unwanted, and unsolicited comments and behavior of a sexual nature that have the interferes with that person's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.

    Sexual assault refers specifically to rape, forcible sodomy, indecent assault, or carnal knowledge as defined by the UCMJ. Sexual assault must involve physical contact. While sexual harassment can involve physical contact, it can also refer to verbal or other forms of gender discrimination of a sexual nature. Sexual assault is a crime punishable by the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

  3. If I am sexually assaulted, what should I do?

    First, get to a safe place. If you are in need of urgent medical attention, call 911. If you are not injured, you still need medical assistance to protect your health. The medical treatment facility offers you a safe and caring environment. To protect evidence, it is important that you do not shower, brush your teeth, put on make-up, eat, drink, or change your clothes until advised to do so. You or the MTF may report the crime to law enforcement, criminal investigation agencies or to your chain of command. If you feel uncomfortable reporting the crime, consider calling a confidential counseling resource available to you. Here you may discuss your concerns and questions regarding the assault and the reporting process.

  4. Where are victims of sexual assault referred?

    Victims of sexual assault should be referred to a medical treatment facility as soon as possible and encouraged to contact Army law enforcement (MPs or CID).

  5. What should I do if I know someone who has been sexually assaulted?

    As an Army Soldier, you should report immediately any activity that indicates a sexual assault may take place or has taken place.

    You should also remember the following: Get assistance for the victim, but never leave the victim alone; support the victim and show respect, but don't be overly protective; demonstrate empathy by concentrating on helping your friend, fellow Soldier or colleague; listen to the victim and take the allegations seriously, without asking the victim for details; do not make judgments about the victim or the alleged offender; encourage the victim to report the crime; however you should report the sexual assault to the proper authorities; and protect the victim's confidentiality by not discussing the assault with anyone, except the authorities. Repeat this message to the victim: You are not to blame!

    Remember: The safety of your fellow Soldiers, your unit, and your community may depend on your reporting of these incidents. You should report any suspicious behavior immediately.

  6. Does this program apply to just military; or, all inclusive of DoD personnel, too include contractors to DoD?

    The charter was to develop a prevention and response program for Soldiers. Currently, the program is designed only for Soldiers; however, the DoD and the Army are reviewing procedures on how to extend to others. Commanders should recognize that sexual assault effects everyone and should deal with this issue as appropriate and keep in mind that restrictive reporting applies to Soldiers only.

  7. Can a person who has been sexually assaulted a year ago still report it?

    Sexual assault can be reported at any time.

    Once CID or medical is notified of a sexual assault, the procedures are the same regardless of the amount of time since the assault. Soldiers should be encouraged to come forward as soon as possible, so that all possible evidence is collected and preserved before it is lost, destroyed or altered.

    Early reporting also provides the best opportunity to gather testimony from possible witnesses before their memories fade or they move to other locations. Delayed reporting makes it more difficult to investigate the incident and reduces the ability to prosecute the case.

    However, victims are strongly encouraged to report crimes, no matter how long after an assault occurred, and CID agents will do their best to investigate the incident and provide a factual and actionable report to the appropriate judicial authority. Even late reporting can impact other investigations and may assist in identifying and prosecuting a criminal.

  8. What resources are available to care for victims of sexual assault?

    Call 443-845-0876 to report a sexual assault or rape through Fort Meade's 24/7 Sexual Assault Hotline.

    Military One Source offers real help, anytime, anywhere. A master's level consultant will speak to victims who are eligible for this service at no charge, 24/7/365. Call 1-800-655-4545 for assistance.

    Other resources are the local medical treatment facility; Military Police/Criminal Investigation Division; your commander, supervisor or first sergeant; the chaplain, social services, family advocacy and legal services. Military One Source, Army psychiatric counselors, and chaplains are confidential counseling channels.

  9. When recovering from a sexual assault, what may a victim expect?

    Every person reacts differently to sexual assault. There are five stages of recovery, which most victims will experience to some degree. It is not unusual for different people to experience the stages in different orders or even to repeat stages several times. These stages are:

    Stage 1: Initial Shock -Shock following an assault can take on many forms. Victims may experience emotional as well as physical shock, which in turn could be expressed as very controlled, and/or withdrawn, or, highly expressive, including crying, screaming or shaking. Victims may or may not feel comfortable communicating these feeling others.

    Stage 2: Denial - This stage may find victims attempting to go on with a normal routine and wanting to forget about the assault. This denial or rationalization of what happened is an attempt to deal with inner turmoil.

    Stage 3: Reactivation - This stage involves a re-experiencing of the feelings from Stage 1, usually brought on by the triggering of memories of the assault. Feelings of depression, anxiety and shame increase. Other symptoms can include nightmares, flashbacks, and a sense of vulnerability, mistrust and physical complaints.

    Stage 4: Anger - Victims may experience feelings of anger - often toward themselves, friends, significant others, society, the legal system, all men/women, etc. Sometimes through counseling, this anger can be dispelled.

    Stage 5: Integration (Closure) - As victims integrate the thoughts and feelings stemming from the assault into their life experience victims will begin to feel "back on track." As a result of support, education and the passage of time, victims may feel strengthened.

  10. Are there resources available on sexual assault?

    Yes, visit for available resources.

  11. Can men be sexually assaulted?

    Yes, men may be victims of forcible sodomy or indecent assault. Therefore, all resources for sexual assault are available, regardless of gender.

  12. How should I respond if a man tells me he has been assaulted?

    The response is the same for any victim, regardless of gender. Reference the information in item 3 and follow the guidance listed.

  13. What legal representation and/or assistance does a Soldier have when he or she is sexually assaulted?

    A Soldier victim will be assigned a victim witness liaison who will explain the rights of victims and will keep the Soldier informed of all of the steps in the legal proceedings involving his/her case. However, victims of sexual assault are not represented by a criminal, military attorney. A military attorney can answer questions about the legal process and related proceedings but will not represent the victim. See AR 27-10, Military Justice, chapter 18 for more details on victim's rights and the role of the VWL. A victim may also seek legal advice from a military or civilian attorney at their installation legal assistance office.

  14. What happens when sexual assault occurs across the services?

    When sexual assault occurs across Services, CID works together with their counterparts in the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations and/or the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. There is often a joint investigation with each service's criminal investigation agency conducting complimentary investigative tasks to prepare a complete final report that can be provided to the appropriate service's action commander and corresponding Staff Judge Advocate (lawyer).

  15. What happens when a Soldier is sexually assaulted by someone outside the military (civilians) or by someone from another country (military or civilian)?

    CID will be involved in sexual assault cases that involve an Army victim or that affect the Army. Typically, CID conducts joint investigations with civilian police authorities (U.S. or foreign) or with foreign military law enforcement agencies in these types of cases. Each investigative agency conducts complimentary investigative tasks to prepare a complete final report that can be provided to the appropriate judicial authority (military or civilian). CID routinely conducts many joint investigations with civilian and other military law enforcement agencies on a variety of felony crimes. Joint investigations are a normal business practice within the criminal investigative field.

  16. As a Soldier, what are my obligations to report a sexual assault if I am aware of it as a third party?

    Anytime there is knowledge of a crime, or a crime to be committed in the future, the individual should report it to the MP, CID or the chain of command.

  17. Will military sex offenders be registered in state and federal authorities?

    Yes, all military sex offenders must register with the state sex offender register and the installation provost marshal as required by federal and state statutes.

  18. Confidentiality -- Covered Communication between unit victim advocate, sexual assault response coordinator, chaplain, medical sexual assault care coordinator: Are any of these persons protected and excluded by Congress/DoD from being subpoenaed to court as a witness to testify?

    None of them have been excluded, and it is possible that they could be asked to testify at a court-martial. Normally, Soldier witnesses are ordered to appear by their commanders. If someone with a confidential relationship with a victim is either the subject of an attempted interview by anyone or ordered to appear at a court-martial as a witness relating to the confidential matters, that person should report that fact to the servicing trial counsel. DoD has created an administrative privilege. We believe that it may be sustained in court, but that issue remains to be litigated.

  19. Can Department of the Army civilians assigned to military units serve as an unit victim advocate and sexual assault response coordinator in military units -- outside of garrison?

    Yes. UVA is one of two Soldiers/civilians who is appointed on orders by each battalion level commander and trained to perform collateral duties in support of victims of sexual assault particularly in deployed environments.

    UVAs are supervised in the performance of their duties by the SARC. The UVA will be an NCO (E-6. or higher), officer (O-2/CW-2 or higher, or civilian (GS-9 or higher). Deployable SARCs are Soldiers/civilians assigned at brigade/unit of action and higher levels of command who are designated and trained to assume the duties of the SARC during deployments. The deployable SARC will be an NCO (E-7 or higher), officer (O-4 /CW-3 or higher), or civilian (GS-11 or above) and should be prepared to assume the executive agent role for coordinating sexual assault response at a level commensurate with the level of command to which they are assigned (i.e., brigade/unit of action through theater of operation).

  20. Will a goal be established to have a higher ratio of females as unit victim advocates and sexual assault response coordinators than males?

    No "goal" is set for a ratio of male/female UVAs and SARCs.

Information from the U.S. Army SHARP Program website was used for this page.

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