By ANIESA HOLMESSeptember 25, 2013
FORT BENNING, Ga., (Sept. 25, 2013) -- The Maneuver Center of Excellence began its first phase of installing Sexual Assault/Harassment Prevention hotlines in initial entry training barracks last week.
On May 31, TRADOC mandated that SHARP hotlines be installed in IET barracks common areas for accessibility and privacy. The 24-hour hotline includes a phone with three designated features that connect to a sexual assault response coordinator, a unit victim advocate and a third line that will eliminate stigma of use such as weather and post information.
Col. Scott King, commander of the 194th Armored Brigade, said the installation of hotlines is another step toward commitment to the SHARP program and IET Soldiers.
"It shows that they have access to report and call someone that they feel comfortable with," King said. We just want them to know that we are committed to prevention of sexual assault and harassment."
King said as more gender neutral military occupational specialties become prevalent, hotlines will extend to barracks across the brigade. Daniel Brennan, IT strategic planner for MCoE, said the initiative is funded locally through TRADOC funds and will be implemented across all TRADOC IETs.
"We're looking to install phones in 30 buildings with two per building, and roughly 120 lines that are going to be installed," Brennan said. "We're starting with the 194th Brigade and then moving to 198th Brigade."
Sgt. 1st Class Evelyn Henry, SARC for the 194th Armored Brigade, said the hotlines also serve as a way to protect Soldier confidentiality.
"I think the phones are a great idea because the Soldier can call and speak to a SARC or victim advocate directly, and they don't have to worry about going through a first sergeant or a drill or platoon sergeant," she said.
King said the brigade remains committed to educating Soldiers and leaders about sexual assault and harassment prevention, as well as improving victim advocate training and finding effective alternatives to ensure that every Soldier is protected.
"It is a matter of trust and we have to continue to earn their trust," King said.
"As we do that, I see more and more people open about it, which I think is the key measure of identified success.
"The second key is our Army values so that peers and battle buddies will say when something is not right and then we can prevent it from happening. We're trying to get all of our Soldiers to recognize the signs and to report it."