By Amy L. Bugala, Public Affairs Specialist, U.S. Army Garrison WiesbadenApril 4, 2017
WIESBADEN, Germany -- The Wiesbaden community is invited to sharpen their skills in the fight against sexual assault and harassment by taking part in a variety of events offered during the month of April.
Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month is recognized across the country by both civilian and military communities and is an opportunity to honor victims and to infuse prevention practices into the daily mission.
In Wiesbaden, the SHARP team will kick off SAAPM with two unique training opportunities -- neither of which involves clicking through power point slides. Catharsis Productions, the creators of "Sex Signals," which has been presenting to military audiences worldwide since 2011, will make a stop in Wiesbaden April 10 for two 90-minute presentations of "Beat the Blame Game."
The production, sponsored by the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, is a provocative and interactive two-person show that looks at why we shift the blame in sexual assault to the victims and why that's not acceptable.
In a sexual assault, victims are commonly looked at and asked questions that place blame such as: What were you wearing? Why did you drink so much? "Blaming victims is unique to sexual assault," said Rachel Phillips, sexual assault response coordinator for the 66th Military Intelligence Brigade, "and there is no other crime where we blame victims."
"If your house is robbed, and your 60-inch television is stolen, the police don't ask, why do you have a 60-inch television," she explained.
The presenters are known to use raw language, so attendees should be prepared to be pushed out of their comfort zone. The situations are very real, and the presenters are not going to sugar coat the subject Phillips said. The event is free and open to everyone 18 years or older.
The SHARP Amazing Race, now in its' third year, is an exciting and creative way for Soldiers and civilians to complete their annual SHARP face-to-face training and combines physical and mental challenges, teamwork and camaraderie.
"Bring your SHARP knowledge and prove to us how much you know about these programs, knock out your PT, win some great prizes and possibly even bragging rights," said Phillips who especially likes how the race brings the Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness model and all the community resources together.
"We're all a part of the military's 24/7 environment, especially for our Soldiers who are at work and then in the barracks -- which is still a work environment. These trainings build the foundations of trust, dignity and respect. If people feel like they are in an environment of dignity and respect then the bottom line is we shouldn't see people committing such crimes," she said.
Community members can also show their support by putting on a pair of jeans April 26. Denim Day is an international rape prevention campaign that was triggered by an Italian court ruling overturning a rape conviction. The justices felt the victim gave consent because there was no way the rapist could have removed her tight jeans without the victim's help.
"It's such an easy thing to just put on denim, to say, 'we believe you, and we are fully supporting anyone who has been touched by sexual assault.'"
Every SAAPM event is an opportunity to increase awareness, educate and effect change.
Additional activities include SAAPM outreach at a Strike Out Sexual Assault Bowling event at the Wiesbaden Entertainment Center April 20 and a Drive Out Sexual Assault Golf Scramble at the Rheinblick Golf Course April 28.
Phillips said the program's success isn't measured just by the numbers, but proof the information is getting out there. Other factors such as increasing support from the community, people coming forward to be victim advocates, commanders learning more about the program and resources, and an increase in partnerships shows the program is getting in touch with a broader audience, and for her, "that's a huge win."
Wiesbaden's events are hosted in partnership with U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden's SHARP Program, Family and MWR, and the Wiesbaden community of sexual assault response unit coordinators and support the Department of Defense's commitment to advancing an environment where sexist behaviors, sexual harassment, hazing, bullying, and sexual assault are not tolerated, condoned, or ignored.
See the side bar for more information about Wiesbaden's SAAPM event's. The 24/7 SHARP Victim Advocate hotline is (0162) 296-6741. The DoD Safe Helpline (stateside) 001-877-995-5247.
Support SAAPM with events throughout the month
Beat the Blame Game, April 10
Get ready to get out of your comfort zone. This presentation will use audience engagement, humor and relatability to look at the most common reasons people blame the victim and support alleged perpetrators. The presentation takes place April 10 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. or 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Tony Bass Auditorium. Military and civilian attendees will receive annual SHARP II (online) training credit at this event.
SHARP Amazing Race, April 13
Join the SHARP Amazing Race April 13 starting at 5:45 a.m. at the Fitness Center. The Amazing Race is a timed group event, requiring teams to use clues to locate five activity stations across Clay Kaserne where their SHARP knowledge will be tested. Upon completion of all stations, teams complete a physical challenge. Teams of five must register a team name by April 7. Military and civilians will receive their annual SHARP I (face-to-face) training credit for volunteering or participating. To register go to https://edit.armymwr.com/files/2414/8516/5848/WI-ACS-SHARPRaceRegFm.pdf.
Strike Out Sexual Assault Bowling, April 20
Community members and dependents are invited for an afternoon of bowling April 20 from noon to 4 p.m. to increase awareness of the problem of sexual assault. Bowling will be $1.50 per game with free use of shoes.
Denim Day, April 26
Wear jeans with a purpose on Denim Day, April 26. Participation in Denim Day supports survivors and raises awareness about sexual harassment and assault prevention. In accordance with Army regulations, unit commanders and principal officials may authorize military personnel to participate in this event.
Drive Out Sexual Assault Golf Scramble, April 28
Community members are invited to "Drive out Sexual Assault" during a golf scramble at the Rheinblick Golf Course. Cost is $45 per person and includes golf cart, club rental, range token and lunch. Visit Wiesbaden.ArmyMWR.com for more details.