HRC SHARP program opens its doors to raise awareness
By Ray Gall, HRC Public AffairsMay 5, 2015
FORT KNOX, Ky. -- The U.S. Army Human Resources Command opened the doors to its Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) office on April 16, 2015, at the HRC Complex, in order to raise awareness of the SHARP program not only for HRC employees but those in the community.HRC Sexual Assault Response Coordinator and Program Director, Master Sgt. Johnnie Garcia, expressed her surprise when more than 150 people from both the command and across the installation stopped by to offer congratulations."The event went on longer than we anticipated as we had SHARP partners from Ireland Army Community Hospital, 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, 4th Cavalry Brigade, Cadet Command and the Garrison stop by in addition to HRC Victim Advocates, and the command leadership," she said.The SHARP Office provides victims of sexual assault and harassment with a safe place to get help. Garcia pointed out the office is not just for victims who want to make an official report. "The door is open to anyone to just stop by to talk to me, a Victim Advocate or find out about the many on and off-post resources," she said.This was all part of the many activities at HRC and around the post to celebrate Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. This year's theme for Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month is "Eliminate Sexual Assault: Know Your Part. Do Your Part."Garcia said that using this month is a unique opportunity to build on existing momentum to eliminate sexual harassment and assault, and ensure that all members of the command, civilian and military alike, are in a work climate where they are treated with dignity and respect.The SHARP Program reinforces the Army's commitment to eliminate incidents of sexual assault, said Garcia. "Through a comprehensive policy centered on awareness and prevention, training and education, victim advocacy, response, reporting, and accountability, we strive to promote avenues for care and confidential reporting for victims of sexual assault and accountability for those who commit these crimes."More than 500 people from across the post visited a display set up by the command SHARP team at the Main Exchange, HRC Café and Keyes Park over a five-day period during the month. Members of the team provided education and awareness of sexual assault, and asked visitors to sign a pledge poster to stay committed to the SHARP program year round."The pledge commitment posters were a big hit once again this year" said Garcia, "and our Victim Advocates and SHARP Trainers were on hand not only to provide information about the SHARP Program but also to discuss techniques that allow for bystanders to intervene should they be the witness of sexual harassment or sexual assault."The 84th Army Reserve Training Command hosted a post-wide Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Fair at Natcher Gym on Friday, April 10, 2015, and Garcia was one of the guest speakers spoke on the importance of the reporting and investigation process as well as on the topic of prevention and risk reduction.Garcia spoke on the roles and responsibilities of the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC). One of the significant stories shared was based on the collaboration between military and civilian entities which allows for advocates to serve victims of sexual assault in a more responsive way.Garcia stated, "By coming together; meaning both military and our civilian community we are making progress in reducing sexual violence and connecting victims to services." She further stated, "It's a team effort and continued and expanded efforts are needed to help support survivors and work to prevent sexual violence from occurring!"Maj. Gen. Scottie Carpenter, commanding general of the 84th Training Command, in his remarks emphasized, "Sexual Assault is crime and will not be tolerated!" Furthermore he stated, "I expect leaders to do three things: educate, build trust and act."The Future of SHARP lies with each of us understanding and being aware of our surroundings and practicing the principles of SHARP on a daily basis.