REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Soldiers and civilians on the frontline of the Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention program here heard firsthand about the Army program's latest initiatives.
"A lot of this is about a culture change," said Army SHARP Program Office Director Dr. Christine Altendorf on Friday as she met with Sexual Assault Response Coordinators and Victim Advocates from Redstone organizations. Representatives from the Judge Advocate General's office and the Criminal Investigations Division also attended.
Altendorf said the meeting, which was part of a daylong visit to Army Materiel Command headquarters, gave her a chance to impart the headquarters viewpoint of the SHARP program and help those on the frontlines understand how it trickles down. She emphasized the program's primary lines of effort which include prevention, investigation, accountability, advocacy and assessment.
Altendorf highlighted several recently completed initiatives, including a directive calling for all officers and non-commissioned officers to be assessed on their commitment to the SHARP program with remarks on their evaluation reports.
Ongoing initiatives include a new SHARP schoolhouse with an eight-week pilot course set for January. Altendorf said she also is committed to a monthly blog highlighting the program's primary lines of effort on armylive.com.
From the Secretary of Defense to the White House, Altendorf said the SHARP program has received a high level of focus and attention. But she was cautious about the way ahead.
"We need to worry about resources," Altendorf said. "With the Army downsizing… we need to build a sustainable program that is effective for the future."
Capt. Dimitri Facaros, chief of military justice from Redstone Arsenal's Staff Judge Advocate, said he was interested to hear about what is happening at the Army level. "It helps us on a smaller scale, to know what the Army is doing to come down to zero sexual assaults," Facaros said. "This is so tough. It's a secret crime that's hard to stop."