By Staff Sgt. Bryan DominiqueMay 5, 2014
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - This month the 7th Infantry Division will race to gain ground in the fight against sexual assault.
To raise awareness, 7th ID will host a sexual assault awareness run, April 29, on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
"In the month of April we are observing the 10th annual Sexual Assault Awareness Month," said Col. Louis Zeisman, commander of 2-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th ID, in a special message to Soldiers of his brigade. "Leaders at all levels must establish a climate of dignity, trust, and respect."
The intent is to educate leaders, Soldiers, and Department of Defense civilians on the consequences of not intervening to stop sexual assault before it happens.
In addition, each brigade under the Bayonet Division will hold a Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention safety stand-down day.
"Sexual assault is a crime and can only be stopped if everyone understands their role in combating it," said Sgt. 1st class Latissa Edmond, a Jackson, Ala. native and sexual assault response coordinator for the 2-2 SBCT. "We need a personal commitment from every Soldier to adhere to the Army Values and standards of behavior."
Edmond is on the frontlines of the war against sexual assault. Despite that, she managed to sit calmly behind her desk with a list of tasks on a large white board and a SHARP banner that lay on the floor waiting to be hung.
"I think if people really pay attention, instead of going [to a class] and thinking it's a check the block, and really put forth the effort [to] pay attention to what's being put out, then I feel like we would move in the right direction," said Edmond.
To reach Soldiers, the Army instituted the 'I AM Strong' campaign, as part of the Army's SHARP program. It aims to get Soldiers to Intervene when they see sexual assault, Act to stop it, and Motivate others to do the same.
She feels the run is a great start to showing victims, potential perpetrators, and the community that the Lancer Brigade, the Bayonet Division, and the Army stand together against sexual assault.
"I'm very excited about the run. I'm more excited because I think the whole brigade is actually going to be there, and I think that people will get to see how many people actually support the SHARP program," said Edmond.