By Justin Graff, ASC Public Affairs OfficeApril 2, 2015
ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- The Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program is the Army's top priority, as directed by the Secretary of Defense. With displays in every building, monthly training and a frequent topic of discussion in meetings, Soldiers and Army Civilians are constantly reminded about the importance of SHARP.
In an effort to reinforce the SHARP initiative, the Army often brings in outside organizations to provide training with fresh ideas and atmosphere.
Catharsis Productions conducted "Got your Back" training for Rock Island Arsenal personnel in Heritage Hall, here, April 1.
"It's anti-violence and prevention education," said Amber Kelly, an educator with Catharsis Productions. "We use innovative styles of presentation, that's also very research supported, in order to become more accessible to the general viewer.
"We use interactive training, which involves people in the conversation. What we try to do is empower the audience because we're talking to people in the community that can help, more so than people that are the problem."
Throughout the training, several members of the audience were asking and answering questions, shouting out suggestions and participating in scenarios presented by Amber and her partner Brian Golden.
"I think death by PowerPoint, a lot of times, gets boring to people," said Sgt. 1st Class Darrick Dupree, G4 (Logistics), U.S. Army Sustainment Command. "By having these educators come, we get a lot more interaction from the group. I think the message is clearer with someone up in front of you actually portraying the message, and the people understand it much better."
The training was more than an overview of sexual assault and sexual harassment. Kelly and Golden spoke in-depth about the less obvious societal issues that often facilitate these crimes, involving the audience throughout the entire conversation.
"We talk about anything in the continuum of harm," Kelly said. "So we talk about the language people use when they talk about sex, and the effect of that language into the action within our community, the way that we view people and are willing to help them, and how we can identify and intervene in bad situations."
Kelly said she believes society is moving in the right direction.
"It's really pretty easy to just look out for each other and do something, to do anything and just keep doing something. Right now it's abnormal for people to say something or do something or intervene when it comes to sexually aggressive behavior, and if we can get just a few more people doing something, and create the norm, then it's going to be a better place."
1st Sgt. Previn Parker, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, ASC, believes the Army's SHARP initiative is having a positive effect on Army culture.
"I think over the years, and having been married to a Soldier, I've seen a change, a good change," he said. "And it basically started with people being more educated. The more we can do this, the more we can educate our Soldiers, and the better the environment will be."
Parker's job as a first sergeant means he's an important part of handling soldier issues firsthand.
"I think ASC is doing an outstanding job," he said. "Our SARCs (sexual assault response coordinator) are very active, and even since I've been here in the last four years, they've taken the SHARP program to a whole new level."