News: Fort Carson observes Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Story by Spc. Andrew Ingram
FORT CARSON, Colo. – During the month of April, Fort Carson soldiers, civilians and family members have raised awareness of the dangers of sexual assault and its negative impact on the Army.
The Fort Carson community came together in protest of the crime during the Sexual Assault Awareness Month 5-Kilometer Run/Walk, April 20.
“This is a great way to get everyone together and take a little time to think about sexual assault,” said Maj. Gen. Joseph Anderson, commanding general, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson. “We are all one team; we are all one Army, and we have to treat each other with respect. Hopefully, this will cause someone to think twice before doing something foolish.”
Before the starting pistol shot signaled the beginning of the race, Lt. Col. David Cushen, 4th Inf. Div. Equal Opportunity officer, charged the runners with making sexual assault prevention their personal responsibility.
“Your presence here today demonstrates that we are taking an active role in preventing sexual assault,” said Cushen, who organized the event. “As you travel around the course today, take time to think about how you can continue to demonstrate and get others to demonstrate (their) commitment to the prevention of sexual assault in our community and in the Army.”
After the event, participants received T-shirts stamped with the words, “I A.M. Strong,” to emphasize the Army’s initiative to “Intervene against sexual misconduct; Act against inappropriate patterns in Soldiers’ behavior; and Motivate others to do the same.”
“This message is especially important to the junior soldiers,” said Staff Sgt. Camile Alexander, petroleum supply specialist, 59th Quartermaster Company, 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 43rd Sustainment Brigade, who participated in the run. “The younger soldiers are around each other more; they have a better chance to make a positive impact on one another.”
Throughout the month, soldiers made a show of solidarity against sexual assault by wearing casual clothing on the first Friday of the month and participating in the SAAM Rally.
Unit Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention representatives also handed out literature at post dining facilities and discussed ways for individuals to prevent assaults.
“One incident of sexual assault can tear a unit apart,” said Staff Sgt. Marzell Parchment, SHARP representative, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div. “We need a culture change in the Army. Every soldier should realize how important this issue is.”
Cushen said a change in mindset is vital to eradicating the crime of sexual assault from the military.
“We have to be unified and willing to apply energy toward sexual assault prevention,” Cushen said. “We have to demonstrate courage to intervene. We have to change the culture and let everyone know that sexual harassment and sexual assault are entirely incompatible with the Army Values and our morals as humans.”
For more information, call the Fort Carson SHARP Office at (719) 526-9649 or (719) 526-8625, or contact Army Community Services at (866) 804-8763.
To report an incident of sexual assault against a soldier, contact Fort Carson SHARP at (719) 338-9654. To report an incident against a Family member, contact ACS at (719) 243-7907.