FORT DRUM, N.Y. (April 28, 2016) -- In recognition of April as National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, some 100 Soldiers across the 2nd Brigade Combat Team "Commandos" gathered April 11-13 to compete in a seven-station challenge that tested their knowledge of the Sexual Harassment / Assault and Prevention, or SHARP, program.
Each battalion provided two teams composed of eight Soldiers, who were evaluated on fastest course completion and number of correct answers given to questions at each station to earn them an Army Achievement Medal.
"The intent of the Sexual Assault Awareness Challenge was to promote education and awareness on sexual harassment / assault through challenging events that tested the leaders' and Soldiers' knowledge and skills about the SHARP program," said Sgt. 1st Class Tamara Soto, 2nd BCT victim advocate.
Teams also were tested on their knowledge of resources available for victims, how to assist survivors, intervention during an incident, and differences in restricted and unrestricted reporting. They also re-affirmed their commitment to the program by reciting and signing the SHARP Commitment Pledge.
For each incorrect response, Soldiers accrued a physical fitness penalty that included pushups, situps, sprints and tire flips.
"I believe that having seven different stations that tested each team's knowledge and skills of the SHARP program provided the Soldiers and leaders of 2nd BCT a better understanding … of sexual harassment and sexual assault," Soto said. "By having different levels of leadership participating in the SAAC, it helped to build cohesion within 2nd BCT."
As teams move through each station, Soldiers gained a better understanding of the program in its entirety.
First Lt. Mark Salinas, infantry officer, said that during the events, victim advocate representatives spoke in depth on what programs are available to enable leaders to help victims during this process and how to seek medical treatment in the Fort Drum area.
Salinas continued to say that these events provide SHARP representatives a chance to train Soldiers on reporting an incident and give them information that they will pass on to their co-workers.
With SHARP reps striving to educate Soldiers and prevent incidents from happening, National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month offers an added opportunity to share information.
"Even though we have monthly SHARP training, this month gives us a chance to maximize the information we can put out to our Soldiers," said Sgt. 1st Class Anjie Oliver, sexual assault response coordinator for 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd BCT.
Winning first place during this competition was 41st Brigade Engineer Battalion.