CAMP HOVEY, South Korea -- Sexual assault and harassment has been a problem within the uniformed services since their beginning. Across every one of the armed services, leaders and Soldiers are working to end this scourge that demeans individuals and threatens unit morale and cohesion.To help tackle the issue, the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program representatives from the 210th Field Artillery Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division organized a self defense class for women October 7, 2014 at Hovey Physical Fitness Center on Camp Hovey, South Korea.This was the first time the brigade has held the program and the goal is to continue it on a bimonthly basis."The class is to give them confidence and help out with situational awareness, just being more aware of their surroundings," said Ms. Jamie Donaldson, from Okoboji, Iowa, the victim advocate for the brigade. "Being more sure of themselves when they are out and if something bad is about to happen, they have the confidence that they at least know something they could do if they choose to."According to Donaldson, sexual harassment and assaults are not only a problem for those in uniform, but for family members of those Soldiers and ordinary citizens as well. Because of that, the class was open not only to Soldiers and their families, but to all Department of Defense identification card holders.According to Staff Sgt. Jason Murphy, the brigade combatives instructor as well as the instructor for the defense class, the class was focused on getting a lot of hands-on experience and training.
The students learned several ways of effectively disengaging in forced physical contact and how to take proper measures in critical situations."The purpose was to teach awareness and how to act if you do find yourself in a situation," said Murphy, a native of Rehobeth, Alabama. "To be able to defend yourself properly until someone can get there to help you with the situation or to just create space and distance, to be able to get away from the situation entirely."For Staff Sgt. Brian Gebhart, an Avenger System repairer assigned to E Battery, 6th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 210th FA Brigade, the session will help the students, including his wife, being prepared for unwanted situations."I really encouraged her[my wife] to come out and take part in this because it's going to really help her in the long term," said Gebhart, a native of Zanesville, Ohio. "If the situation did happen, she will figure out what to do."Debreca Horne, one of the participants from Troy, North Carolina, was very satisfied with the program overall as well as being able to learn and try out the different techniques for self defense."I really enjoyed the program, I learned a whole lot," said Horne.