IN THE NEWS
Maj. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, U. S. Army Africa commanding general and host of the 2015 Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Program Summit, asks junior leaders how they would implement SHARP at their level, Oct. 6 at the Golden Lion conference center, Vicenza, Italy. The intent of the training was to raise awareness and educate the Vicenza Military Community on sexual harassment and assault related behaviors. The two-day training included survivor testimonies, scenario-based group discussions, and educational worksheet exercises. (U.S. Army Africa photo by Sgt. Lance Pounds)
By Capt. Jason Welch, U.S. Army Africa Public Affairs
VICENZA, Italy – “Not in my squad…”
These are the first words summit attendees saw when they arrived at the Vicenza Military Community Junior Leader Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Summit Oct. 6-7.
The two-day summit brought Soldiers and Civilians from the Vicenza Military Community together at the Golden Lion Community Center to discuss the Army SHARP program.
The SHARP program trains Soldiers and Army Civilians in the programs, policies and processes dealing with sexual harassment and assault in the Army.
Monique Ferrell, U.S. Army SHARP Program Office director, encouraged everyone at the summit to take personal ownership of the behaviors of those in their units, including their peers and subordinates.
“You are being empowered to intervene, to take charge in your units,” said Ferrell.
Maj. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, U.S. Army Africa commander, said the SHARP program was an important element of increasing readiness of the total force to get “everyone into the fight.”
Sexual harassment and assaults diminish the capability of military units to complete their missions, said Williams.
“SHARP readiness is as important as the physical readiness you do every day as a Soldier,” said Williams.
Breakout groups discussed ways to overcome barriers and enhance SHARP programs in their units. Attendees brainstormed and shared ideas for implementing these ideas both in their own units and across the Vicenza Military Community.
“We’re talking about cultural change, and real cultural change takes time,” said Ferrell.
Participants addressed stigmas that prevent victims of sexual harassment and assault to report abuse.
Sexual assault incidents erode the trust victims have in their leadership which prevents victims from reporting occurrences, said Dr. Howard Fradkin.
Fradkin is an expert in the field of male sexual assault and victimization.
“To be an effective military you have to be able to ask for help,” said Fradkin.