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    1st MSC hosts SHARP Foundation Course

    1st MSC hosts SHARP Foundation Course

    Photo By Maj. Ruth Castro | Twenty-three U.S. Army Reserve, U.S. Army National Guard Soldiers and civilians...... read more read more



    Story by Maj. Ruth Castro 

    1st Mission Support Command

    FORT BUCHANAN, Puerto Rico – Twenty-three U.S. Army Reserve, U.S. Army National Guard Soldiers and civilians participated in the Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) Foundation Course for new Victim Advocates, hosted by the 1st Mission Support Command (MSC) on Fort Buchanan, January 30th through February 10th.

    The 1st MSC hosts this 80-hour course to certify new Victim Advocates once a year. Throughout the four years of hosting the SHARP foundations training, over 100 Victim Advocates have successfully graduated and passed the course.

    Ms. Evelyn Franco, 1st MSC Special Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) and the host of the SHARP Foundation course, has high expectations for new Victim Advocates. “My hope is that they will go out to their units and represent the SHARP program,” said Franco. “I trust that they will do their jobs as they should and advocate for the victims.”

    SHARP training has become a norm for units over the past years. As Victim Advocates, Soldiers can train their units about SHARP. “I expect that we continue to educate our Soldiers so that we can reduce the incidents of sexual harassment and sexual assault,” continued Franco. “As Victim Advocates, they should speak up, train, educate and share the knowledge that they have with others.”

    The 80-hour course is more than your usual SHARP brief that takes place during battle assembly weekend and for Staff Sgt. Mariangelie Valcaracel, 271st Human Resources Company (Postal), it was just what she needed to grasp the concept of SHARP entirely.

    “I like this training, and it is more than I expected,” said Valcaracel. “I was expecting your typical SHARP class that focuses on what to do and not does. This training has enlightened me on what SHARP is and the processes that I did not know.”

    “I am confident that I will be able to be successful as a Victim Advocate based on the training we have received,” said Valcaracel. “Knowing that there is personnel trained and with experience that I can reach out to in case I have questions, makes me feel pretty confident.”

    SHARP training has taken on a negative image in some units and Ms. Penny Gietzen, SARC at 88th RSC, Fort McCoy Wisconsin, believes that is due to the lack of understanding of the actual intent of the training.

    “I think there are a lot of misconceptions about the program,” said Gietzen. “Soldiers don’t have the understanding of what the SHARP program is because it was thrown at them as a reactive attempt to correct a situation that became highly visible within the news and media.”

    “It is my goal to try and change that,” Gietzen continued. “Part of the role of a Victim Advocate is to understand what the program is about and train their Soldiers that this program is designed to help you, not hurt you. It will go a long way in correcting the issue of sexual harassment and sexual assault.”

    The purpose of the two-week course is to teach prevention of sexual harassment and how to “Intervene, Act, and Motivate” others to do the same. Victim Advocates learn how to respond to a victim of sexual assault and how to implement and utilize different methods to eliminate sexual harassment and assault.

    “The first week we focus on sexual harassment and how it can lead to sexual assault,” said Mr. Christopher W. Carlson, SARC from the 310th ESC out of Indianapolis, Indiana. “If you can eliminate the harassment piece, we can avoid a situation that can be more severe. The goal is to reduce that risk much as possible.”

    “During week two, our goal is to teach prevention techniques and how to respond to sexual assaults,” said Carlson. “This training is critical because these Victim Advocates are going to be the subject matter experts for their units and commands. Once credentialed, they will be working with senior leaders, all the way down to your privates and specialists, and using their knowledge to conduct proper training instead of our usual training that doesn’t connect with students.”

    Ensuring mandatory SHARP training if relevant and interactive will be a challenge for some, but Chief Warrant Officer 2, Michael Weir, 319th Quartermaster Battalion out of Twinsburg, Ohio is confident with this abilities to train others.

    “In 21 years, I have seen a lot of different types of training from Victim Advocates and other instructors,” said Weir. “I know that you just can’t throw something together. I am going to make it interesting and turn things up to people pay attention. I know that sometimes during these training people hear, but they don’t listen. I will try and integrate things that will help eliminate this problem and just cut straight to the point. Using lots of scenarios and have a lot of audience participation will also help.”

    As part of the training, students were given several scenarios to help them get comfortable with their upcoming roles. “I was hoping that this training would be incredibly thorough and it is,” said Staff Sgt. Timothy S. Coffey, 338th U.S. Army Reserve Command Band. “It is not death by power point; there are lots of simulations, practice rounds, role playing, rehearsals, dry runs and opportunities to experience how we might react in the situation of an actual reported incident.”

    “As a school administrator on the civilian side, it is striking how much I will be able to use this advocacy training daily in my job,” said Coffey. “I have folks that present with different types of situations who need connections to resources and someone to walk them through the process, so this has been excellent training for that.”

    “I feel like I can use my skills as a civilian educator to make it SHARP training interesting and pertinent and not be death by power point,” said Coffey. “There are two different sides of this. Prevention is one side of it. Education and prevention are what we can do proactively, and I hope that by doing a good job with that side of things, we have far fewer opportunities to use our advocacy training where we have to swing into action to help a Soldier who is in a bad spot.”

    The trainers for this two-week course are well trained and dedicated to ensuring that new Victim Advocates are prepared to assist and help victims and train their units of what the SHARP program is. Working together with other Victim Advocates and SARCs will make the process easier.

    “I am fortunate enough to work with a lot of dedicated SARCs and instructors,” said Gietzen. “We network, learn and support each other always. As long as we continue to work this way and hand that down to the Victim Advocates we are training, the program will become an excellent program.”



    Date Taken: 02.10.2017
    Date Posted: 02.13.2017 12:51
    Story ID: 223393
    Location: PR

    Web Views: 278
    Downloads: 1