News: Third Army/ARCENT stays SHARP
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Teresa Adams
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - Just as any large organization has issues with equal opportunity, discrimination and sexual harassment, the army is no different. Soldiers assigned to Third Army/ARCENT can find solace in the fact that there will always be someone available to assist them in the unfortunate circumstance of sexual assault.
The army identified the need to take action regarding sexual assault and over the past five years, has taken calculated steps to ensure soldiers feel safe reporting these incidents.
In 2008, the army launched a strategy to prevent sexual assault and harassment which included the I.A.M. (intervene, act, and motivate) Strong Campaign. The five-year campaign goal was designed to change army culture regarding sexual assault response and prevention.
By October 2012, the Army’s Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program transitioned from being an installation-based program to an army-wide program. SHARP initially fell under the Equal Opportunity umbrella and now stands on its own.
Today the army requires that each brigade maintains two full-time
This year, Headquarters Department of the Army Mobile Training Teams spent January through March teaching the Third Army/ARCENT SHARP office and its subordinate units; 261 personnel were trained during the 80-hour SHARP course.
Recently, the Third Army/ ARCENT SHARP team at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait added to those numbers by training 60 more service members and DA civilians how to properly respond and prevent sexual harassment and assaults. Those who attended are deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Some soldiers and DA civilians traveled from several locations in the ARCENT area of operations to attend this training.
“We have encountered challenges with ensuring that units rotating into theater have the appropriate number of personnel in SHARP leadership positions,” said Capt. Lisa A. Borer, the former ARCENT SHARP, G1. “In response to this dilemma, we have set up the first-ever theater-level SHARP office at Camp Arifjan.”
A SHARP representative’s duties include coordinating medical and
chaplain’s assistance for victims, proper notification and reporting
procedures and awareness/prevention training. They must be available to respond to sexual assault situations 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Soldiers selected as Third Army/SHARP representatives have a complete understanding of the responsibility built into these positions. On the first day of training, students seemed passionate about learning how to effectively help soldiers who encounter the difficult circumstance of a sexual assault.
“I want soldiers to feel safe in addressing their issues with me,” said
Maj. John Hoyman, inspector general, assigned to the 311th
Expeditionary Sustainment Command (USAR), Los Angeles. “One sexual assault is too many.”
A noncommissioned officer who attended the training at Camp Arifjan takes his new responsibility as a SHARP representative very seriously.
“We need to be aware that sexual assault is happening in the Army,” said Sgt. Maurice B. Bailey, a parachute inspector-tester with 647th Quarter Master, 82nd Sustainment Brigade, Fort Bragg, N.C. “I want to have the tools to intervene when necessary.”
ARCENT is serious about providing its soldiers and DA Civilians with an environment free of sexual assaults.
“In addition to training, ARCENT has a monthly Sexual Assault Review Board which addresses problems and allows participants to brainstorm solutions by presenting them to brigade-level commanders,” said Borer, the former SHARP coordinator. “This board allows commanders to share how their program works to meet the ARCENT Command’s five joint strategic direction lines of effort (LOE): Prevention, Investigation, Accountability, Advocacy and Assessment.”
The senior member of Camp Arifjan’s SHARP team fits easily into her role as a victim’s advocate.
“The army is changing its climate from victim-focused to offender-
focused,” said MSG Jamye M. Sanders, senior SHARP assigned to Third Army/ARCENT-G1. “Being a SHARP NCO is really a part of my
assignment in life as I'm naturally drawn to people who are hurting and need a listening ear.”
The SHARP staff continually updates Lt. Gen. Brooks, the commanding general, with information about the program. Brooks fully supports and enforces Third Army/ ARCENT’s policy of “100% Reporting; Zero incidents.”