Through the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Program, soldiers and their leaders talk frankly about sexual assault, the definitions, the punishment, and the negative impact on the unit.
The goal of SHARP is to eliminate sexual harassment and assault within the Military. Soldiers learn how sexual assaults not only destroy individual lives, but the cohesiveness of their unit. SHARP emphasizes that each soldier has a responsibility to stop sexual harassment and assault; essentially, prevention by living the Army values and caring for their fellow soldiers.
“Preventing the crime of sexual assault is our focus,” said Chuck Hagel, Department of Defense Secretary during a recent announcement on sexual assault prevention initiatives to the Department of Defense.
From privates in basic training to the highest levels of military decision makers, SHARP training increases awareness and stresses the importance of providing service members an environment safe from assault.
Recently, the 361st Public Affairs Operations Center here conducted SHARP training. Soldiers participated in an open and emotional discussion about sexual harassment, rape and assault as well as victim advocacy and services.
Soldiers of the 361st received core knowledge of prevention and intervention. Additionally, the training allowed the soldiers to communicate their SHARP concerns and point of views during the discussion.
“By conducting this kind of training, it helps people to understand the root causes of sexual trauma and aid in stopping potential predators,” said Capt. Jackie Wren, SHARP Unit Victim Advocate from the 361st PAOC.
Wren has been speaking with hundreds of sexual assault victims since 2007 and is dedicated to educating Soldiers about these sensitive issues.
“We all come from different backgrounds, but it’s important for all of us to understand how rape takes a toll on our unit’s ability to function and the trust my battle buddy has in me and my section leaders,” said Pvt. Ese Atori, Administrative Specialist from the 361st PAOC.
Creating a safe working environment is crucial. “Sexual assault is a stain on the honor of our men and women who honorably serve our country, as well as a threat to the discipline and the cohesion of our force. It must be stamped out,” the Defense Secretary said in a recent statement.
How do we create a safe environment for all Soldiers? We become SHARP.