PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. -- Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center leaders welcomed local military and academia representatives to the Presidio of Monterey for a two-day Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention workshop recently.

Guests from about 15 universities and a variety of local military agencies, including Army, Air Force and Navy, gathered March 31 and April 1. Some topics they discussed included Barriers to Reporting; Unique Challenges within DOD and Academia; Fostering Student Activism; and Building Military and Civilian Community Partnerships.

The military-academia collaboration was because both entities serve a similar population and face similar challenges, explained Sgt. 1st Class Saffron Fletcher, the installation sexual assault response coordinator. The workshop was designed to share best practices regarding sexual harassment and assault on military and university "campuses."

The workshop focusing jointly on military and higher academia was the first of its kind, however, more are envisioned in the future, according to Harry Green, the Training and Doctrine Command SHARP program manager. Green also spoke about Building Military and Civilian Community Partnerships.

Additionally, there is a significant need for a culture shift to eliminate victim blaming and preconceived notions about reported suspects, said guest speaker Russell Strand, a retired U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division special agent and current chief of the Family Advocacy Law Enforcement Training Division at the U.S. Army Military Police School.

The good news Strand discussed in detail is there are various culture shifts in the process or that he sees just around the corner regarding sexual harassment and assault.

About SHARP: The SHARP Program reinforces the Army's commitment to eliminate incidents of sexual harassment and sexual assault through awareness and prevention, training, victim advocacy, reporting and accountability. The program is a comprehensive integration and transformation of the Army's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Program and Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) efforts.