News: Sexual Assault Awareness Month flash mob adds flavor to lunch on Camp Arifjan
Story by Staff Sgt. Adam Keith
Service members and civilians were treated to an unexpected show during lunch when a group of Soldiers suddenly began dancing in a dining facility on Camp Arifjan, Kuwait during a flash mob designed to highlight Sexual Assault Awareness Month, April 21.
Sgt. Gabrielle Hopkins, a supply noncommissioned officer with the 143rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, said she helped come up with the idea of using a flash mob to bring attention to one of the Army’s biggest priorities.
“I just wanted to raise awareness, and I was thinking of the best place to get as much attention as possible. The dining facility seemed like a good choice,” said Hopkins, an Orlando, Fla. native.
“Once you get everyone excited about this event then they are more likely to check out other events that are going on this month.”
Hopkins said she has been active in many Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention events this month and feels strongly about raising awareness.
“I’ve never been a victim of sexual assault but I’m definitely an advocate for people who have been victims receiving help,” said Hopkins. “Sometimes people might be reluctant to come out and say they have been a victim, so when you bring awareness to the issue those people or the people around them might not be as reluctant to do something.”
Capt. Karen L. Roddy-Spikes, a plans and protocol officer for the 595th Transportation Brigade, said she was very surprised when Soldiers started to get up and dance.
“It caught everyone off guard but in a good way,” said Roddy-Spikes, a native of Columbus, Ohio. “I think it was a good event. It is extremely important to raise awareness of sexual assault awareness because the more this is brought to the forefront the more likely those who have been impacted by it are going to come forward.”
“I think this has been a lift to everyone’s day, I know it has brightened mine,” she added.
Sgt. Daisy B. Pruitt, a human resources noncommissioned officer with U.S. Army Central, participated in the event and said she was a little nervous getting up and dancing in front of a large group of people, but she wanted to help because of a personal connection with someone affected by sexual assault.
“I have a Soldier who was sexually assaulted. I originally got involved because of her, hearing her story, what she went through and how she has to deal with the issues,” said Pruitt, a native of Blenheim, S.C. “It’s a lot; it’s not something that you can just get over easily. After it happens it can affect your life for a long time.”
Pruitt said she thinks she will continue to stay involved in events like these for the rest of her military career.
“It was fun and it was exciting. We just tried to bring something positive and make [sexual assault awareness] into a fun event,” she said. “I think those that have helped plan and set up the events for Sexual Assault Awareness Month have done a great job.”