News: Division West supports Army’s SHARP program
By Staff Sgt. Tony Foster
Division West Public Affairs
FORT HOOD, Texas – In September 2008, the United States Army started a new campaign to foster even greater awareness for its approach on combating and preventing sexual harassment and assault.
First Army Division West does its part to aid in the Army’s efforts by promoting the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program.
“Our program is directed from the Department of the Army,” said Sgt. 1st Class Rickey Sanders, Division West SHARP program manager. “We handle all issues regarding adult Family members of our soldiers and our Soldiers with anything relevant to sexual harassment or assault.”
Division West, like every Army unit, participates in and administers SHARP training. Recently training has been accelerated.
“We have a training class with III Corps every Tuesday to receive new implementations to SHARP,” Sanders said. “Every Friday we do remedial training to our brigades and we provide information to better our SHARP personnel.”
Sexual harassment and sexual assault were once issues that were covered under the Army’s Equal Opportunity program but to create greater awareness of this critical aspect of good order and discipline, the Army decided to make a separate program.
“The Army learned that, in the workplace, sexual innuendos were getting worse,” Sanders said. “The Army decided to implement a program that attacks these issues at the lowest level.”
Even though, the Army’s SHARP and Equal Opportunity programs have separated, they still have some similarities.
“Both programs deal with the treatment of people with dignity and respect,” Sanders said.
The Army instituted the SHARP program to tackle both the concrete offenses, like assault or rape as well as the more subtle offenses like innuendo and harassment.
“Now we have a program that encompasses the entire spectrum on sexual harassment and assault,” Sanders said.
Since Division West has operational control over mobilized reserve component units, integrating SHARP into the post mobilization training process is vital.
“We are still in the infancy stages of our program,” said Sanders. “We are trying to learn our niche for units that come here to train and mobilize, also to help them with their own SHARP program and training.”
Sexual harassment and assault is something that still exists and infects the Army. Nevertheless, the Army and Division West are on board with addressing this problem to make the ranks more safe, secure and strong.
“Along with the Chief of Staff of the Army, Division West has made this one of its top priorities,” said Sanders. “Our command is behind the program percent.”