FORT KNOX, Ky. - Third Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) service members, along with family members and friends, turned out to support the unit's 2015 Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention two-mile Fun Run/Walk, April 17. The event was a way for the Fort Knox community to raise awareness of sexual harassment and assault.
"April is Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention month and this year's theme is 'Eliminate Sexual Assault, Know your part, Do your part,'" said Master Sgt. Shonn Richardson, 3rd ESC sexual assault response coordinator.
"By focusing on the knowing & doing and being committed to eliminating sexual harassment & assaults, together we can 'Intervene, Act and Motivate' each other to prevent sexual harassment and assaults before they happen," said Richardson.
On a dark, but seasonably warm Kentucky morning, participants lined the street in front of Harris Hall. Before the run, Col. Robert W. Weaver, 3rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) deputy commander, addressed the runners.
"On behalf of Brigadier General Walker, I want to thank all the families and friends that came out today to support this run ... We are here to have fun, but we are also here to bring awareness to SHARP (Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention). That is why we are wearing these teal ribbons today, and these bracelets, and supporting this program. It is incredibly important that everybody understands what this program is about, why we are here and that we provide a safe and comfortable environment for all of our Soldiers and their family members."
"Preventing sexual assault is all about enforcing standards and discipline. If we enforce standards and discipline it is just like going to a range, or the motorpool, or anything else." Weaver continued, "We know what is right and wrong, and what it takes to meet our Army standards and what does not, and every person is empowered to report violations and take care of their battle buddies."
After Weaver spoke, three 3rd ESC NCOs led the runners and walkers in reciting the SHARP "Commitment Pledge." The run/walk followed the recitation of the pledge. The 3rd ESC command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Edward A. Bell, explained how the pledge is intended to help shape the Army's culture.
"The commitment pledge talks about sexual assault being a problem in the United States Army," Bell said. "It talks about eliminating sexual harassment and sexual assault, not only from our formation, but from the community. Our trust with the community has always been something we have always held near and dear to our hearts."
"The pledge also talks about intervening, no matter the time or place, and being the one who will not accept behaviors that should not be a part of our great military, and acting to protect members of our Army and their family members." Bell went on to say, "It's about esprit de corps, being highly motivated, and living by the Army values."
Lakeisha Wade, wife of 3rd ESC Equal Opportunity Advisor Sgt. 1st Class Alton Wade, who participated along with their three children, said, "I thought the run was great for morale, it was a great way to bring out family, friends and for everybody to have a good time." She also acknowledged the greater meaning of the event, "It has always been embedded in my mind, that it is not okay to accept it, it is not okay to do it, it is not okay to be a bystander."
Members of our Armed Forces and their Families can learn more about the resources available to them at 1-877-9995-5247 and www.SafeHelpline.org.