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    SAAPM month puts spotlight on importance of prevention

    Prevention Starts With You -- SAAPM Theme

    Photo By Kari Hawkins | "Prevention Starts With You" is the theme for Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention...... read more read more



    Story by Kari Hawkins  

    U.S. Army Materiel Command   

    REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- As the Army once again recognizes April as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, its policy and processes for working through sexual harassment and sexual assault within its workforce are evolving to reflect lessons learned during the past 10 years.

    Those lessons come down to two focus areas: prevention and victim support. The Army is reshaping the Sexual Harassment and Assault Response Program (better known as SHARP) to improve prevention efforts, and to better support victims with the treatment and resources needed to overcome.

    Much of the change in SHARP will be evident in the programs offered at the installation level and will be emphasized during Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (also known as SAAPM). At Redstone Arsenal, where Army Materiel Command is headquartered, SHARP coordinators are planning a series of events in April, including a 5K run, a virtual walk and a survivor program, to emphasize the importance of sexual harassment/assault prevention throughout the year.

    “We’ve come a long way as an Army from those early days of SHARP training,” said AMC Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Walter Duzzny. “But then as well as now, we can’t overemphasize the importance of Army values. If our Soldiers and civilians truly embrace and live up to the Army values every day, we won’t have a problem with sexual harassment or assault in the Army. Respect, honor, integrity – these are values that ensure all our employees are treated with dignity.”

    SHARP has been a required element of Army training for both Soldiers and civilians since 2012.

    “We are all starting from a point of understanding. We have all had some type of SHARP training in the past,” Duzzny said. “Sexual harassment and sexual assault still exist even with the best efforts of training, awareness and resources … We do not want this happening in our ranks and we must take all steps necessary to prevent it. If it does happen, we need to have the right types of reporting options, resources and expertise to be able to assist victims and commanders as they navigate through the aftermath of an incident.”

    For that reason, this year’s SAAPM theme – “Prevention Starts with You” – is most meaningful, Duzzny said, as it reinforces the Army’s focus on prevention.

    “We must collaborate to have strong teams that stand against behaviors that destroy trust,” he said. “We have zero tolerance because sexual harassment and sexual assault negatively impact Soldier readiness and unit readiness.”

    Bystander prevention – the act of stepping in to bring a stop to sexual harassment or sexual assault prior to it occurring or as it is occurring – is the most effective way to protect a potential victim, said AMC’s Sexual Assault Response Coordinator Maureen Trainor.

    “By the time we react to sexual harassment or sexual assault, it’s too late,” she said. “We need to get in front of this problem and the only way to do that is for people to be able to recognize it is happening and then to have the training to be able to step in and make it stop.”

    Trainor advocates for bystanders to follow the 3 “Ds” of intervening: Direct – point out the threatening or inappropriate behavior in a safe, respectful manner; Distract – draw the victim away from the situation or divert the attention of the attacker; and Delegate – find someone else who can help intervene.

    It is also easier to prevent sexual harassment and sexual assault when people feel they can talk about it, she said.

    “If that one person can come forward to tell their story it brings to light that others can, too. It brings power to a victim, and the more victims who share their stories the better prepared other people can be to keep themselves from being in similar situations,” Trainor said.

    Although the problem with sexual harassment and sexual assault in the Army is most often reported within Soldiers ranks, it is also occurring with the civilian workforce.

    “This is a social issue, not a Soldier issue. We need to look at the problem as a whole affecting the entire workforce,” said Trainor. “Each of us can work towards prevention by knowing who is in our foxhole, who is working in our office and what is going on with the people around us. It’s one thing for supervisors to know their employee’s names, and something else to actually know about them and know what’s going on with them.”

    Events taking place on Redstone Arsenal in observance of April as SAAPM month include:

    • 5K Run in recognition of April as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, and Child Abuse Prevention Month – Friday, April 1, 6:30 a.m. sign in with opening ceremony at 6:45 a.m. and the race beginning at 7 a.m., Childwise Building, 3467 Vincent Drive. No pre-registration is required. Hosted by Redstone Garrison SHARP Program. Info: Garrison SARC Coordinator, 808-9501, or Family Advocacy Program Manager, 842-8706.

    • “Virtual Walk That Will End In Rome, Italy” ¬– April 1-26. The virtual walk ends the day before World Wide Denim Day, with participants recording their steps toward the end goal of walking to Rome. World Wide Denim Day, recognized on April 27, grew out of a 1998 Italian Supreme Court decision that overturned a rape conviction because the victim was wearing tight jeans at the time of the rape. The decision created a worldwide uproar and, soon after, people angry with the verdict were wearing denim as an international symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes and myths surrounding sexual assault. To help walk virtually 5,300 miles to Rome, register by March 29 at Additional guidance will be forwarded once registration is completed. Hosted by AMC SHARP Program.

    • Virtual Survivor Story with Heath Phillips – While deployed on a Navy ship, Phillips became a victim of repeated sexual assaults. He will share his story of survival and advocacy in an April 28 virtual presentation from 11:30 to 12:30 on Army 365 Teams. For more information, email

    • Teal Tuesdays – Every Tuesday in April, Redstone employees are asked to wear teal to show their support for SAAPM.

    • Wednesday Walk for Wellness – Every Wednesday in April at 10 a.m., employees are encouraged to meet at the entrance to AMC headquarters to walk around the building in a group to show their support for SAAPM.



    Date Taken: 03.28.2022
    Date Posted: 03.28.2022 15:44
    Story ID: 417292

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