By Staff Sgt. Leah KilpatrickMarch 1, 2016
FORT HOOD, Texas — Training requirements are a way of life, and it often seems like all the activities completed in a day are because of or in support of another training requirement.
This is so much the case with online training that the mere mention of the need to log onto a computer and complete this training or that training is sure to elicit a sigh here, maybe a groan there. At the very least, an eyebrow might be raised at the request.
In response to this lackluster response to online training, 1st Cavalry Division's Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Prevention Sexual Assault Response Coordinators have organized a more interactive approach to SHARP training, the Sexual Assault Sexual Harassment Awareness skit.
"The goal of the skit is to bring awareness and insight of issues facing our Army when it comes to sexual assault and sexual harassment," said Sgt. 1st Class Raymundo Rodriguez, the 3rd Cavalry Regiment SHARP SARC, who is helping to oversee the planning and execution of this year's skit. "Last year's cast was solely 3rd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Regiment. This year, the cast includes units throughout 1st Cavalry Division."
The SASHA skit was the brainchild of Robena Tomlinson, a victim advocate at 3rd Cavalry Regiment, who saw a burning need for a shift in the way SHARP training is executed.
"This method of training moves away from the 'death by PowerPoint' which, at times, is not effective," said Rodriguez. "Depending on the instructors, the crowd is either won or lost from the beginning of training. By introducing the SASHA skit, the intent is to capture the audience's attention by steering away from PowerPoint and letting the crowd interact with the training."
After seeing that training and educating Soldiers about sexual harassment and sexual assault was increasing the number of Soldiers reporting, Tomlinson wrote first SASHA skit last year.
This year she decided to get some input from the Soldiers themselves. She asked Spc. Erin Baker, a human intelligence collector assigned to the 8th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cav. Div., and Spc. Daseaun Loving, a fire control repairer assigned to Company B, 215th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd ABCT to write a scene in the skit.
"I decided I wanted to see it from a Soldier's point of view, so I let Specialist Baker and Specialist Loving cowrite a scene to show that females are not always the victim," Tomlinson said.
"I worked with Specialist Loving to make sure that the scene was true to life and represented that sexual harassment and assault is unacceptable no matter rank or gender," said Baker, a native of Marietta, Georgia.
The skit will demonstrate a series of situations with pauses for training points and discussion, so the audience members will interact with the actors on the stage as well as the Soldiers to their right and left.
Leaders are always looking into ways to get the Soldiers' input into the training, because it makes them want to be involved, much like focus groups and sensing sessions, said Sgt. 1st Class Shtina Love, the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cav. Div. SHARP sexual assault response coordinator.
"A lot of people feel underrepresented in the situations they're put in, so they don't come forward to tell their stories or get help," said Baker. "I have a few friends who have been victims of sexual assault in the military and it is important for all Soldiers to know the standards of conduct."
The collaboration between the First Team units has turned up a bevy of actors to put realism behind some of the stories being told.
"We didn't have to pay actors," said Tomlinson. "These guys have some real talent. They've got skills they didn't know they had."