ANSBACH, Germany (April 15, 2016) -- In recognition of April as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach held the second annual Teal Meal at the Wings of Victory Dining Facility at Katterbach Kaserne Wednesday.
Representatives from the Sexual Harassment / Assault Response and Prevention program and unit victim advocates attended the event and spoke to diners.
Richard Fry, the sexual assault response coordinator for the garrison, believes it important that victim advocates establish a positive relationship with community members.
"Community members normally know who their victim advocates are, but don't always have the opportunity to speak with them on a one-on-one basis," said Fry. "There are times when a victim may not feel comfortable reporting to their unit victim advocate, and it helps to know who the other victim advocates are in the community."
To accomplish this, victim advocates donned gloves and hats and served food to Soldiers, civilians and Family members in line for lunch. Floyd Chandler, the garrison victim advocate, passed out free T-shirts at the event. Chief Warrant Officer 3 Eve Seyfried, SARC for the rotational unit, and Sgt. 1st Class Dwayne Suber, SARC for the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, distributed educational material and contact information at a display table.
"It's most definitely important members of the community know who their advocates are," said Suber. "It's one thing for us to do the job, but for us we most definitely have to be plastered around the environment and the community."
"We're out here interacting with everybody and bringing awareness," said Seyfried.
In support of the event and in support of sexual harassment and assault awareness and prevention, James A. Walls, the deputy to the garrison commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Derek R. Cuvellier, USAG Ansbach command sergeant major, attended the event. Walls took the microphone to speak to the attendees, emphasizing the importance of bystander intervention and action over inaction.
"The bystander piece, I think, is a critical component," said Walls. "So much can be done when somebody starts to see something going down a path it shouldn't. That's when it's better to intervene and be wrong maybe than to not do something and regret it."
In the lead-up to April as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, the garrison SHARP office hosted essay and poetry contests. On-post essayists and poets wrote about the theme for the awareness month: "Eliminate Sexual Assault. Know your Part. Do your Part."
Spc. Ngawang L. Sherpa, who works with the Katterbach Army Health Clinic, was the essay winner and was on hand during the event to receive a plaque recognizing his achievement.
Sherpa's essay, like Walls' speech, was about bystander intervention in addition to awareness of the issue. Sherpa said his motivation was protecting the Soldiers in his unit.
"I do not want anybody in my unit or anywhere in my surrounding [to endure] any kind of sexual assault issues," said Sherpa. "It's a very big deal, and it can haunt someone for the rest of their life."
Sherpa offered advice to Soldiers and community members.
"Watch out for each other," said Sherpa. "If anybody is going through any kind of depression or SHARP-related issue, always bring it forward."
April as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month continues with a SHARP and Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers Teal Barbecue Saturday, April 23 from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Von Steuben Community Center for single Soldiers.
The garrison is also set to observe Denim Day April 29. Members of the community are encouraged to wear denim to raise awareness of the harmful effect rape and sexual assault myths have. To learn more about this event, visit "USAG Ansbach Denim Day flier" in the "Related Links" section.
For more on the garrison SHARP program, visit the USAG Ansbach directory at "SHARP at USAG Ansbach" in the "Related Links" section above. For a locally based 24/7 SHARP hotline, call 09641-83-4567 or DSN 475-4567.