JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR HICKAM, Hawaii-Soldiers from the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command gathered April 1, and again on April 22, at the Hickam Beach, Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, Hawaii to show their support for April 2016 as sexual assault awareness and prevention month (SAAPM).
The Sea Dragons began the month with an esprit de corps run ending at the beach where Master Sgt. Joseph Collins from Oakland, Calif., the 94th AAMDC sexual assault response coordinator, read the SAAPM proclamation aloud to proclaim April 2016 as sexual assault awareness and prevention month.
"We encourage all Soldiers, Family members, and Civilian employees to become engaged in the prevention of sexual assault and sexual harassment," said Collins.
The importance of making the proclamation public was not lost on Chief Warrant Officer 4 Sherrie Campbell from Roberta, Ga., sexual harassment / assault, response and prevention (SHARP) program manager, 94th AAMDC.
"The proclamation is important because it makes an upfront statement to all that read it, from the most senior leaders to the lowest ranking private," explained Campbell. "You must know your part and do your part to eliminate sexual assault ... it has been declared that this will not be tolerated in our squad or in our Army."
After the reading of the proclamation was complete, the 94th AAMDC command team signed the proclamation and Brig. Gen. Eric Sanchez from Santa Fe, N.M., commander, 94th AAMDC addressed the Sea Dragon Soldiers and Family members in attendance. Sanchez' speech reaffirmed that his top priority remains the prevention of sexual harassment and sexual assault, which is a key element in meeting the Army's top three priorities: readiness, building an agile, adaptive Army for the future, and taking care of the troops.
"This may be the [Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention] month but as we always say here in the 94th - every day is a prevention day," said Sanchez. "We don't want to just prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment in April; we want to prevent it every day.
"This crime tears at the very fiber that makes a great unit and it really is a fratricide within our formation when we have these type of events happen."
The Sea Dragon command has made a conscious effort to promote the awareness of SHARP every day by coming up with innovative ways to highlight SHARP training such as interactive video training, brown bag lunches with the commanding general, scavenger hunts, Soldier skits, casual dress training, and directorate-led training.
"The ready and resilient team (R2T) does a great job of supporting sexual assault awareness and prevention month," shared Pfc. Donte Jones from Hopewell, Va., an information technology specialist for the 94th AAMDC. "They strongly encourage Soldiers to attend all events, and make the events enjoyable and knowledgeable."
On April 22, the 94th AAMDC R2T sponsored a SAAPM scavenger hunt and promoted awareness by supporting Denim Day. Sea Dragon Soldiers wore jeans as a visible sign of protest against sexual violence.
"The scavenger hunt is great, it lets you get out and walk around and also read up on some of the pamphlets that contain good information on the Army's SHARP program," said Spc. D'Andre Ward from Sanford, N.C., an information technology specialist for the 94th AAMDC. "And I learned more about why we have and support Denim Day.
"Denim Day shows that we as an organization do not put up with the injustice of sexual assault or harassment and that we stand behind our SHARP program in trying to purge it. To me, Denim Day means that I am a part of the movement to ending sexual assault and harassment."
This was the 3rd Annual 94th AAMDC SAAPM Scavenger Hunt and has become a tradition within the command as it allows Sea Dragon Soldiers and Family members to come together for a fun, educational event that supports SAAPM and the Army's SHARP program.
"There are three success take-aways from an event like this - it is educational, it promotes team-building, and it promotes healthy competition," said Campbell. "It supports SHARP by making teams answer questions on the Army's SHARP program ... all the [scavenger hunt] points are SHARP-related questions. Team building is promoted by bringing Soldiers and senior officers together so they learn to interact and work towards a common goal. The competition is good clean fun and allows Soldiers to bring their Family to a fun event, as well as a learning experience."
National sexual assault awareness and prevention month is observed each April in order to raise awareness and educate communities on the prevention of sexual assault. During SAAPM, the U.S. Army reaffirms its commitment to eliminate sexual assault within the Army, support victims, and inspire bystander intervention. The Army's 2016 SAAPM theme is Sexual Assault. Sexual Harassment. Not in Our Army.