By Staff Sgt. Jennifer Bunn (2d Cavalry Regiment Public Affairs)March 3, 2017
VILSECK, Germany - The 2d Cavalry Regiment hosted a Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Symposium Feb. 27 -- March 1, 2017 at the Rose and Tower Barracks theaters.
The SHARP team invited Dr. Wendy Patrick, a trial lawyer and author of 'Red Flags: Separating the Dangerous from the Desirable' to be guest speaker. She presented six seminars focusing on
prevention of sexual harassment and sexual assault. The three day event reached an audience of 2,500 Soldiers and over thirty Department of the Army Civilians.
Maj. James Anderson, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator for 2CR invited Patrick because of her background as a trial lawyer for 23 years who worked to prosecute sexual predators. She has had the opportunity to meet victims, and predators and make deductions about how they behave.
"She provided a presentation that talks about how we can prepare ourselves to not become a victim and then what we can do in our organization to create a climate that is inhospitable to sexual harassment or sexual assault," Anderson said.
The symposium was separated into two different types of seminars. One for junior leaders including the ranks of sergeant and below and lieutenants and the other for senior leaders; staff sergeant and above including the rest of the officers.
The Red Flag seminar, presented four times to junior leaders, focused the discussion on encouraging Soldiers to make better decisions about whom Soldiers invite into their lives, and to think critically about boundaries and goals within social and work relationships.
The Work Place Violence seminar, presented twice to senior leaders, focused the discussion on steps leaders can take in their organization to create an environment non-permissive of sexual harassment and sexual assault. The presenters focused on prevention by clearly articulating steps and means to improve their unit areas.
"We want to help our Soldiers think critically about the people they meet and the people they let into their lives," Anderson explained. "So, the way we are getting after this is with the singular thought of prevention. We believe we can get after prevention by training our Soldiers how to protect themselves and train them on what right looks like."
The Red Flag seminars were followed by small group discussions and training at the Troop and Squadron areas. The small group discussions focused on prevention, annual training, and 4 -5 scenarios designed to encourage critical thinking with respect to prevention.
Four prior victims came forward to discuss options with the Regimental SARC and Victim Advocates.
"One of the things that we believe is a good way to work on prevention is to have a conversation," said Kathy Johnson, 2CR Victim SHARP Advocate. "By having Dr. Patrick come here and speak with us is to spark the conversation between the individuals across the regiment, across Bavaria and the Army who can each take their own responsibility for helping us prevent sexual harassment and sexual assault."
The 2d Cavalry Regiment will use the SHARP Symposium momentum to transition unit efforts from advocacy to prevention within the organization.
"Prevention is something that has to take place every single day. We can talk about it every Friday and in safety stand down. We can talk about it in our formations, but when we bring someone like Dr. Patrick here to speak to us, it helps to regenerate our thought process about what we should be doing every day," Johnson added.
Anderson also wanted the symposium to reinforce the concern for the survivors of sexual harassment and assault and let them know they are supported and they will receive the care that is available to them including medical, behavior health, chaplain assistance and someone to talk to.
"There is no place for sexual harassment and sexual assault in the Army and we think we are on the tip of the spear in making sure that we are getting after prevention and making sure we are taking care of our Soldiers and holding predators accountable," Anderson said. "We want to terminate the threat"
April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. The SHARP team will host events that say 'Take a stand. I am not going to be a bystander. It's not going to be in my squad. I am going to do something about it.'
Soldiers, Family members, civilian workers and local community members are invited to all events including a 5k fun run and 'chalk the walk' in which a side walk will be dedicated to writing things opposed to sexual assault.
"In order for us to get after prevention we are going to have to do it individually and together as a team," Anderson concluded.