REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- The U.S. Army Materiel Command participated in a Team Redstone SHARP Stand Down day, May 15.
Military and civilians from across the installation participated in a full-day of activities dedicated to training, awareness and open discussion on the topic of Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention.
First on the agenda was a question and answer session with a panel that consisted of SHARP expert, criminal investigator, a lawyer from the Special Victims Counsel and chaplain at the Bob Jones Auditorium here.
"SHARP is an Army-wide mass movement to change a culture," said Capt. Cathy Hartsfield, special victim counselor. "Training is a huge part, but we are also making changes on the legislative side to improve the military justice system."
The Special Victim Counsel Program is an example of a legislative change.
"It ensures that the victim's rights are heard and that the victim is apprised of the issues throughout the legal process," Hartsfield explained.
There are currently 53 special victim counselors throughout the Army, including in overseas locations such as Kuwait and Afghanistan. Special victim counselors are nominated for service out of the existing pool of Army lawyers and serve for two years.
The first training session held more than 600 employees and organizers still had to turn employees away due to reaching maximum capacity.
Jennifer Blatter, AMC's SHARP representative, explained the types of sexual harassment and how sexual harassment can quickly evolve into an environment conducive to sexual assault.
"Women who are victims of sexual harassment are six times more likely to be victims of sexual assault," said Blatter. "And even though the reports don't always show it, there are more men that are victimized in the military than women. We can no longer make it a woman's problem. It is a society problem and it will have to be a joint effort to get through it."
Lt. Gen. Patricia McQuistion, deputy commander of AMC and Redstone Arsenal's senior commander, signed a Proclamation in recognition and support of SHARP Stand Down Day.
In the proclamation McQuistion said, "Take this day to concentrate on the importance of eliminating Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment. As an Army Family, we must commit to speaking up and making our voices heard to prevent and defeat this insider threat. Today,
as every day, it is time to "intervene, act, and motivate."
Afterward, employees completed a "Walk SHARP" event around Building 4400 and McQuistion encouraged employees to keep the conversation going as a way to combat the issue.
"Keep walking and keep talking," said McQuistion.