By Sgt. Nicholas FarinaMarch 28, 2017
"I'm very confident that this SAAPM will be the best that we've had in quite some time," said Lt. Col. George W. Rollinson, the Equal Opportunity and SHARP manager for the 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum.
Rollinson described the several events planned across the division and installation for SAAPM as far from the familiar SHARP quarterly unit training. There are scheduled guest speakers, an interactive play, knowledge boards and classes in self-defense techniques.
"If you live or work on Fort Drum you will see a lot more teal this April," Rollinson pointed out. "Teal is the color of the awareness ribbon that SHARP reps wear."
As individuals enter the post, SHARP information pamphlets and teal colored ribbons will be handed out at installation access control points according to Janice Brown, the Garrison Sexual Assault Response Coordinator for Fort Drum, who arranged this direct approach of raising awareness with the 91st Military Police Battalion who will be manning the gates for the duration of SAAPM.
"We are going to be spreading awareness the whole month," assured Brown.
The SAAPM 5K run/walk scheduled April 13 will be co-hosted alongside Fort Drum's Army Substance Abuse Program. It is open to all Soldiers, Family Members and Civilians. The starting line will be at Magrath Gym.
Garrison is sponsoring the SAAPM Senior Leader Forum in conjunction with the 10th Mountain Division, said Brown. The training will take place April 4. Dr. Veronique Valliere, a Forensic Psychologist who specializes in treatment for sexual assault survivors will be guest speaking at the event. A panel of sexual assault survivors will answer questions for senior leaders in attendance as well as share their perspectives on the challenges faced by survivors.
Brown said garrison has also arranged with a production company to put on an interactive play May 3-5 at the multi-purpose auditorium on Fort Drum called, "Beat the Blame Game."
"This is an opportunity to talk about victim blaming, the effects of alcohol, and the role that alcohol plays in sexual assault and sexual harassment," Brown explained.
SAAPM includes unit-specific activities as well.
Staff Sgt. Christopher Ellisor, the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator for the 10th Mountain Division Artillery, has arranged for a "Denim Day" that takes place April 20 for his unit.
Ellisor explained the events from 1992 which lead to the observance of Denim Day.
In Rome, Italy, a 45-year-old male was convicted of raping an 18-year-old female. The conviction was overturned a year later when the defendant argued that the jeans she wore on that day were too tight, making it impossible for him to rape her without her consent. When female members of the Italian parliament heard of this, they all wore jeans in protest. This form of protest against sexual assault carried over to the U.S.
"All across the ranks of DIVARTY," explained Ellisor, "Soldiers and leaders alike will come into work wearing denim jeans to represent Denim Day. It's a day to show that it doesn't matter what you wear. There is nothing that condones sexual assault."
Soldiers, Family Members and Civilians of the Fort Drum community are highly encouraged to participate in any of the several events taking place during SAAPM.
"A lack of awareness that an event is happening is kind of tragic because then you miss that opportunity to impart the knowledge and all the hard work that people do to make these things happen," said Rollinson. "I encourage people to come out and participate."
With all of the upcoming events planned, Rollinson emphasizes the overall goal of SAAPM and SHARP.
"SHARP aims to eliminate sexual assault and sexual harassment from our formation," said Rollinson passionately. "It's an enduring mission. We will not stop until we get it out of our formation."
For more information on SAAPM events visit the 10th Mountain Division SHARP Facebook page at facebook.com/10thMTNDIVSHARP.