This story originally appeared in the Fayetteville Observer.
Three research projects at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, are aimed at reducing sexual assault and harassment in the military.
The Military Advisory Board, which is working on the projects, met recently to discuss them.
The ProHealth project will examine social norms, sex, dating, consent, bystander intervention, and alcohol use at Fort Bragg.
The study’s target population is Fort Bragg male soldiers, ages 18 to 26. The participants for the project are all volunteers.
The program was paused in March 2020 due to the pandemic and re-launched in August after modifications to study procedures were approved, according to Adam Roby, who works at Womack Army Medical Center and is the research coordinator for the ProHealth project.
The second research project targets hazing behavior in order to prevent sexual assault in the military. Active duty soldiers are the target population.
“We know that there’s a connection between hazing and sexual assault,” said Dr. Elizabeth Allan, a professor at the University of Maine.
“Research suggests that one in four men will experience sexual assault in their lifetime,” Allan said. “In the military, sexual victimization may come as a result of a group’s hazing or bullying practices, designed to humiliate the victim.”
The hazing behavior research project will be based on 220 surveys from voluntary active-duty soldiers. The surveys ask questions related to military hazing, sexual harassment and assault.
The goal of the hazing project is to analyze the surveys in order to get a better understanding of the hazing climate as it relates to sexual assault on Fort Bragg, according to Dr. Cristobal Berry-Caban, who works at Womack Army Medical Center.
The third research project includes a mobile app that was developed at Johns Hopkins University. The app would help create a set-by-step safety escape plan, aimed to assist military members and spouses experiencing domestic violence.
“Basically, what we want to do is look at a model app, called myPlan, and tailor this app to better fit the military community,” Roby said.
On average, domestic violence victims will leave and return to their abuser seven times before permanently cutting off all contact, according to Amy White, director of the CARE Center Family Violence Program for Cumberland County Department of Social Services.
“The more information you enter into these assessments, the more tailored your safety plan is for you,” Roby said. “It generates a safety plan you can go by, and it’s all based off of the information that you put into the app.”
All research projects are currently ongoing. More participants are needed.