By Sgt. Tara CookMarch 25, 2014
FORT STEWART, Ga. (March 25, 2014) -- Senior leadership gathered at Club Stewart here, Friday, to openly discuss the way ahead for sexual harassment / assault response and prevention in the Army.
This gathering was held in an open discussion manner to encourage the reinforcement of the Army's commitment to eliminate incidents of sexual assault centering upon awareness and prevention, training and education, victim advocacy, response, reporting and accountability.
To kick off the day-filled events, Maj. Gen. John M. Murray, 3rd Infantry Division commanding general, introduced a video by the Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, addressing the matter at hand. In this video, Odierno explained that every Soldier is trained in the battle drill of dealing with improvised explosive devices and further explained that the Army needs to have the same thought process pertaining to the dealings of sexual assault and harassment in that every Soldier should know their role.
Multiple aspects were discussed throughout the day, and subject matter experts were on hand to share their knowledge within areas such as victomology, advocacy, medical and Judge Advocate General.
Lt. Col. Jason T. Edwards, Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion commander, shared his thoughts on the way ahead.
"As leaders we need to clearly communicate the importance of SHARP and its impacts to our Soldiers and eradicate any such behavior from our ranks," Edwards said.
Murray reinforced his ideology that doing basic things exceptionally well and creating a positive command climate will be key in creating an environment where sexual harassment and assault are not accepted.
"Building an honest climate of dignity and respect will improve trust; trust remained a consistent theme throughout the SHARP Summit," added Edwards.
Army policy promotes sensitive care and confidential reporting for victims of sexual assault and accountability for those who commit these crimes. For assistance, please contact the Department of Defense safe helpline at (877)-995-5247, or for Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield, call (912)-271-9958.