November 16, 2016 –
DUBLIN, Calif. ---- The 63rd Regional Support Command held a 10-day certification course for 35 Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention coordinators assigned to the command and subordinate units, Oct. 31 - Nov. 10, Camp Parks Reserve Forces Training Area, Dublin, Calif.
Soldiers observed presentations provided by the Camp Parks Police Department, Veterans Affairs Office, Director of Psychological Health, Camp Parks Chaplain, and U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Division.
“It’s beneficial to have various SHARP experts sharing their experiences and knowledge with us, especially the Director of Psychological Health because it’s proven that victims can became mentally traumatized if violated,” said Staff Sgt. Edgar Landaverde, who is assigned as the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) for the 120th Infantry Brigade.
A training tool referenced as the ‘what would you do wheel’ was used to introduce attendees to the class. It was repeatedly used as a creative teaching method to prepare SARCs for real life scenarios.
“When you’re selected to turn the wheel, it could land on one problematic situation that is difficult to solve, so its training us to be analytical responders,” said Sgt. 1st Class James Glass, senior supply non-commissioned office, 351st Civil Affairs Command.
Soldiers used handbooks that were given as a guidance tool to help them resolve classroom scenarios before having to do so at their units.
If the wheel problems were answered correctly then each participant received a free survival bag that consisted of SHARP necessities including a sexual assault forensic evidence (SAFE) kit for sexually assaulted victims.
Meg Haycraft, director of psychological health, 63rd RSC, gave a history of sexual trauma and examples of post-traumatic stress disorders.
"You’re in the role to get help for someone else,” explained Haycraft. She provided a list of free community counseling and support resources.
During a wheel problem-solving session, Agent Dennis Kim, Monterey Criminal Investigative Division, provided some helpful tips on the reporting process.
“Don’t become personally or emotionally disturbed while dealing with offenses. These mock scenarios are preparing you for a real occurrence,” warned Kim.
Soldiers must be able to think clearly while helping victims through the process, he said.
The SARC’s are now certified to intervene and file claims on behalf of Soldiers that are victimized while in the ranks.
“We are authorized to become advocates for anyone that is sexually harassed or assaulted within our unit and that is like becoming the voice for the voiceless,” said Landaverde.
Resources for sexual assault victims are the 24/7 SHARP Victim Advocate hotline, (0162) 296-6741, the DoD Safe Helpline 001-877-995-5247 or http://www.safehelpline.org.