TORII STATION, Okinawa, Japan (July 29, 2013) -- The Army's Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program was established to serve as a proactive initiative to prevent sexual harassment and sexual assaults before they occur.
To emphasize the importance of this program, Maj. Gen. James C. Boozer Sr., commander of United States Army Japan and I Corps (Forward), personally met with each unit victim advocate during his command visit to Okinawa, July 22-25.
"We met with Major General James Boozer, commander, United States Army Japan and I Corps (Forward), individually," explained Sgt. 1st Class Diana Ulloa, master evaluator with 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery. "The fact that a two-star general took time out of his busy schedule to meet with every single Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention [unit victim advocate] individually reinforced the importance and emphasis the Army is putting towards eliminating sexual assault and harassment in our ranks."
On July 10, 2013, 25 personnel graduated the 80-hour Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention, or SHARP, training, which gave students the appropriate tools to become proactive advocates eliminating sexual harassment and sexual assault among their peers.
"There were a total of 13 modules that incorporated hands-on role playing scenarios and daily reading [homework]," explained Sgt. 1st Class Tamara Todman, equal opportunity adviser/sexual assault response coordinator, 10th Regional Support Group. "The instructors, Patrick Stevenson and Dr. Rubin Cockrell, were knowledgeable on each facet, which eliminated a lot of confusion and kept the confidence of each student. The result was each participant felt empowered to be successful out in the field."
Kevin Edwards, with the 835th Transportation Battalion in Naha, and a recent SHARP graduate, explained about the importance of this proactive initiative.
"As a retired Army Soldier, this is my way of giving back," Edwards said. "This provides me the opportunity to make a difference with the individuals around me. I honesty did not know much about the SHARP program before the training. In fact, I thought it was under Equal Opportunity. The SHARP training is an eye-opening experience, and hopefully will provide me with an opportunity to foster change."
"I found the training very informative," explained Ulloa. "There is much more to the SHARP program when what was previously perceived by the entire class. We gained a lot of knowledge about the issues. There are situations which occur that you would not perceive as sexual harassment when in fact they are."
According to Boozer, "We had the opportunity to speak with all of our SHARP unit victim advocates; visited with the 10th RSG, 1-1 ADA, 78th Signal Battalion, 1-1 Special Forces Group and spent with our Torii Station Garrison. A great team of teams."