Stand Down teaches troops to prevail in battle against sexual harassment and assault
July 1, 2013
FORT BLISS, Texas -- 402nd Field Artillery Brigade held a Sexual Harassment and Assault Response Program Stand Down June 26 at Biggs Park here, featuring guest speakers and blocks of training supporting the Army's fight against sexual assault.
Col. Carolyn Birchfield, commander, kicked off the day by reading the brigade a letter from Maj. Gen. Sean MacFarland, 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss commanding general, about his guidance on SHARP.
In his letter, McFarland states sexual harassment and sexual assault are among the worst crimes between Soldiers because they are particularly invasive and humiliating, referring to them as the ultimate "insider attack" and a force protection issue.
He charges all Bliss Soldiers to treat the battle against sexual harassment and assault as they would a combat mission, and to "get to the left of sexual assaults by targeting sexual predators in our ranks."
Birchfield expanded on the issue, stressing to brigade Soldiers that it is everyone's responsibility to act on preventing sexual harassment and assault.
"We need to be proactive and intervene in situations to prevent things from escalating," Birchfield said. "We need to squelch rumors and cut off inappropriate comments and behavior at the very start. We are in a unique position as we have direct influence on the thousands of mobilizing and de-mobilizing Soldiers who we train here. As we enforce standards and discipline in their training, we can act when necessary to help prevent sexual harassment and assault in their units."
After Birchfield's discussion, the battalions conducted individual SHARP training, covering topics such as how to recognize potential situations and when and how to intervene. Soldiers also shared their experiences and concerns with sexual harassment and assault issues.
After lunch, guest speakers Special Agent Sean Lenn from Fort Bliss's criminal investigation command, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Leticia Sprinkle from the William Beaumont Army Medical Center and Angelica Murillo from the El Paso Police Department's Victim Services, presented more information to all brigade Soldiers.