By Ms. Dawn M Arden (Leonard Wood)April 7, 2016
Fort Leonard Wood held a joint-services ceremony Friday in Lincoln Hall atrium, symbolizing the beginning of Sexual Assault Awareness Prevention Month.
Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Clinton Burch, Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Philip Donoho and Marine Lt. Col. Daniel Dubbs, representing the sister services, assisted Maj. Gen. Kent Savre, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, in a cake-cutting ceremony.
During his opening remarks, Savre asked all in attendance to be thinking about what they could do to better combat the problem. He added that while the Army has been working hard to solve the problems of sexual harassment and assault for a while, it's up to individuals to follow through and do their part.
"I ask all of you to recommit yourselves this month, and then throughout the year. Know your part, truly understand your role and what you can do and then do your part. If something doesn't look right, it probably isn't right," Savre said. "You've got to use your gut feeling and step in and do something about it."
He said it's up to current leaders to not only help develop young Soldiers into leaders, but to also make them better individuals.
"We're in the business of making better Soldiers, service members and better people. This is really important to us, and we (the military) are a leader in America in a lot of different ways. We're trusted by the people of America and if we have assaults take place in the United States Army, or any of our sister services, we're breaking that trust," Savre said. "America is depending on us to be ready to fight and win our nation's wars. Readiness is destroyed in a unit culture when you have a sexual assault. It's not just an Army problem; it's an American problem, and it's certainly a service issue that we're committed to solving."
The Maneuver Support Center of Excellence Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention office has several activities planned to help raise awareness throughout the month.
"This year's theme is 'Eliminate Sexual Assault: Know Your Part. Do Your Part.' This term means that there are no innocent bystanders," said Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Yentsch, installation victim advocate. "If you see a Soldier in need and you see something, you must find the courage to do something when it relates to sexual harassment and sexual assault."
Yentsch added, "I believe every single event that we conduct assists with changing the culture and makes people view sexual assault as a serious issue that must be snuffed out."
Upcoming events include SHARP awareness booths at the main Exchange from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. today and April 21, and 7:45 to 9 a.m. Saturday during the 5k Family Fun Run and Mini Heath Fair at Davidson Fitness Center; a conference for installation Sexual Assault Response coordinators and victim advocates; a SAAPM Awareness Game Show for Initial Military Training Soldiers; junior and senior leader summits; a "Turn It Teal" brigade decorating contest followed by the Denim Day Chili Cook Off from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. April 28 at the Main Post Chapel; and a SHARP Golf Scramble, rounding out the month, at noon, April 28 at Piney Valley Golf Course.