By Staff Sgt. Nicholas Farina, 27th Public Affairs DetachmentMay 11, 2017
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (May 11, 2017) -- The 2017 Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month has officially come to a close for the 10th Mountain Division (LI) and Fort Drum community after a variety of events that took place from April 3 to May 5.
This year's SAAPM had a total of 18 events scattered throughout all the brigades on post, according to 1st Lt. Seth Revetta, deputy 10th Mountain Division Sexual Harassment / Assault Response and Prevention program manager on Fort Drum. It was almost double the events and participation that the SHARP office experienced from last year.
"Not only was the community support absolutely phenomenal, but the command response was amazing this year," Revetta said.
Revetta contributed a big part of this year's success to the coordination and support from other Army Soldier readiness agencies on post, such as the Army Substance Abuse Program, the Suicide Prevention Program and the 10th Mountain Division's Equal Opportunity office.
"Sexual assault incidents are often related to the use of alcohol in some way," Revetta pointed out. "It was great to have ASAP represented at these events as a resource so that people could ask those questions related to alcohol. It definitely helped support the overall message that we were trying to push for SAAPM."
Sgt. 1st Class Jay Hoffman, 10th Mountain Division sexual assault response coordinator, said he believes that efforts to raise awareness of SAAPM within the community proved to be a key ingredient for the increased turnout for overall participation.
Various agencies used social media to get information out to the Fort Drum community this year, Hoffman said. There were a lot of indicators that the message was being received.
More than 1,250 people attended "Beat the Blame Game," an interactive SHARP presentation. The SAAPM 5K had a large turnout. There was also a significant increase in Family Member participation over last year.
"The level of commitment was shown by this community and how it wants to address the issue of sexual harassment and sexual assault," Hoffman said.
Revetta and Hoffman both used the same word to describe this year's SAAPM: Impactful.
The impactful moment for Hoffman was witnessing the victim panel speak to the battalion and brigade command teams during the Senior Leaders Forum.
"Leaders heard how their actions, even at battalion- and brigade-level leadership, have a significant impact on the Soldiers at the ground level," Hoffman said. "It's key that all leaders understand the sexual assault reporting process and are committed to its importance."
The impactful moment during this year's SAAPM for Revetta came from the U.S. Army Medical Department Activity on Fort Drum.
Revetta explained that MEDDAC actually kicked off SAAPM the week before April when roughly 280 individuals showed up wearing teal. They gave an hourlong briefing about the intent of SAAPM. The people who attended were not just there because it was required. Most of them had already fulfilled their annual SHARP training requirement, so they were truly there to support the program.
Once April kicked off with the SAAPM activities, they put on multiple events, including the quilting project.
"I read the statements made by sexual assault survivors that were put on the quilting squares," Revetta said. "It was just an absolutely impactful piece of work."
With the increase in events and community participation, the numbers show that SAAPM 2017 was indeed an impactful success for the 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum.