Story and photo by Staff Sgt. Shawn Morris
99th Regional Support Command
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. - The Army Reserve’s 99th Regional Support Command is hosting quarterly Victim Advocate courses here as part of it Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program.
The SHARP program is part of the Chief, Army Reserve’s Ready and Resilient Campaign and supports the Army Reserve’s commitment to eradicating sexual harassment and sexual assault in its ranks.
“We have a zero-tolerance policy, but sometimes things still happen, so that’s the reason why what you’re going to do is so important,” said Maj. Gen. Margaret W. Boor, commanding general of the 99th RSC, during a Victim Advocate course graduation Dec. 13. “It’s really the right thing for us to do as an Army to protect and care for soldiers.”
A victim advocate is a trained professional who provides non-clinical advocacy services and support to soldiers and family members. They provide crisis intervention, safety planning, non-judgmental support, assistance in securing medical treatment for injuries, information on legal rights and proceedings, and referrals to military and civilian resources.
“My main goal is to get as many victim advocates out there as possible,” said Majeeda Gathers, sexual assault response coordinator for the 99th RSC.
The Army Reserve is actively engaged in reducing the stigma of reporting and strengthening the Army Reserve’s ability to track, investigate and prosecute offenders.
“If you see something, say something – maybe you can speak up for someone who cannot, a victim who is afraid,” Gathers said. “I tell everyone to ‘Intervene, Act and Motivate’ – everyone is a leader, and I really want everyone to try and build this culture to eliminate sexual harassment and assault.”
The 80-hour Victim Advocate course is taught by Department of the Army contractors and is open to soldiers as well as DA civilians.
To apply for the course, e-mail Majeeda.firstname.lastname@example.org
or call the 99th RSC SHARP hotline at 609-410-7670.