News: Nine nations come together for one cause
Story by Sgt. Thomas Duval
EL GORAH, Egypt -- On a day normally filled with practical jokes and laughter, Soldiers from Task Force Sinai and representatives from eight other multinational militaries around the world came together to raise awareness for a serious cause.
More than 300 servicemembers serving as members of the Multinational Force and Observers participated in a 5K Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention run April 1, on North Camp in Sinai, Egypt.
The run signified the start of this year’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month which is themed, “live our values; step up to stop sexual assault.”
“By raising awareness of the effects of sexual assault and harassment on the team we are able to highlight the red flags to detection, deter and eliminate future offenses, and reinforce such behavior are not acceptable,” Col. Patricia Matlock, chief of support for the MFO, said. “These concepts and such awareness apply to all groups of individuals – here in the MFO – we have a shared, common desire to eliminate sexual assault and harassment from our organization.”
Australian Capt. Angela Madden, force communications officer, MFO, is one of the many servicemembers hoping to help Matlock raise awareness and eliminate the desire for sexual misconduct throughout the organization.
Awareness for sexual harassment and assault is a hot topic at the moment, and as an officer it’s important for me to understand the issue and prevent it from affecting my subordinates, Madden added.
Unlike a typical unit, the MFO is home to servicemembers from 13 nations.
While many would look at that as a daunting challenge, members of the MFO plan to address this issue with the same successful techniques they have used over the last two decades to observe and report peace in the Sinai.
“Dignity and respect for others is a cornerstone of the Peace Treaty between Israel and Egypt, and that should reinforce positive behavior for the U.S. military and all members of the MFO,” Matlock said.
Reinforcing this positive behavior in the workplace can be detrimental to a team’s success.
“Mission success is only possible when members of the team are treated as full partners and feel safe and confident in their ability to contribute,” Matlock said. “A healthy workplace and workforce reinforce the good and do not allow sexual assault and /or harassment enters into their domain.”
Sexual related incidents have often plagued many formations throughout the different militaries, but Matlock and leaders in the MFO hope that an increase in prevention education and awareness will help the force get in front of the issue.
The MFO will come together multiple times throughout April to actively promote awareness and prevention through activities like forums and sporting tournaments.