By Cpl. Dong-weon KimApril 2, 2014
DAEGU, South Korea - April is recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month and observed not only among civilians but also in the military. This year at Team 19 the month kicked off with a prayer luncheon with the chaplain in support of SAAM at Camp Henry, April 1.
The 8th Army Command chaplain, Chaplain (Col.) Robert H. Whitlock, was invited as the guest speaker for Area IV Prayer Luncheon. Whitlock stressed the responsibility of Soldiers in the Army in preventing sexual assaults and harassment.
The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent it. The Sexual Harassment Assault Response Program hopes to promote sustained and steadfast team effort to eradicate sexual harassment and assault.
According to the Army SHARP website, sexual assaults break the bond of trust among soldiers that is essential to the mission, degrades mission readiness by harming the victim and the unit's ability to work effectively as a team. The SAAM campaign includes a greater focus on prevention of sexual attacks, standing with the survivors, coming together to break the silence and root out all types of sexual violence in our formations.
The 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Sexual Harassment and Assault Response Prevention program manager, noncommissioned officer in charge, Master Sgt. Doris D. Anderson, said, "The Area IV SHARP specialist is all about educating the SHARP program and SAAM is the perfect time to coordinate different events within the "Fight Tonight" community and raises public awareness about sexual assault and educates on how to prevent sexual assault.
"Programs and policies are in place throughout the "Fight Tonight" community. We have a total of 67 SHARP specialist trained and they are ready to render any information, instruct and educate through SHARP Stand Down day, conduct small group discussion, just to name a few," added Anderson.
Numerous soldiers from the 19th ESC and its subordinate units participated in today's event to support the SAAM. They have messages to send out regarding the significance of preventing Sexual assault and harassment in the Army. Pfc. Edreka L. Keith, 501st Sustainment Brigade 551st Inland Cargo Transfer Company cargo specialist, came all the way from Camp Carroll to attend today's event.
"A lot of people have been sexually assaulted in the Army and they haven't spoken on it," said Keith. "The SAAM observance shows that they care for the victims and want to help as a one big family."
At the conclusion of the observance, the commander of the 19th ESC, Brig. Gen. Stephen E. Farmen expressed his support for the prevention of sexual assault and harassment in the Army.
"There is a cancer in our Army, which is sexual assault. Eradicating in each of our ranks is necessary and should treat others with dignity and respect," said Farmen. "I will do everything as a leader to get that climate."
Special events and educational programs are planned by the 19th ESC SHARP team in order to raise awareness and promote the prevention of sexual violation. Team 19 will host bracelet parties, basketball tournaments, SHARP warrior board and denim day for soldiers to participate in the SAAM.