By Fonda BockMay 3, 2018
Approximately 80 Fort Knox Soldiers, family members, civilians, members of the public and two motorcycle associations participated in the 4th Annual Raise the Bars Motorcycle Ride from Fort Knox to Elizabethtown April 26.
Organized by U.S. Army Human Resources Command, the ride was conducted in observance of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. The event was intended to raise awareness about sexual assault and prevention and to publicly reaffirm the command's commitment to eliminate sexual assault in the Army's formations.
Addressing the riders before the start of the event, Maj. Gen. Jason Evans, HRC commanding general, said "Sexual assault and sexual harassment is something we don't want in our organizations, our ranks, and our town.
"If you know about [an act of sexual violence], you should intervene," Evans said. "If you see it, you should not look the other way and you should report it. That's why you're riding today, you're riding on that behalf."
The parade of motorcycles departed here at 1:30, arriving an hour later at Silverleaf Sexual Trauma Recovery Services in Elizabethtown.
Silverleaf is one of the local agencies where HRC refers survivors of sexual assault and abuse for support and services that include crisis intervention, medical examinations, counseling and education. The agency has been instrumental in working with HRC and other commands on post in providing trauma response services and advocacy support.
Brig. Gen. Twanda (Tia) Young, HRC deputy commanding general, thanked the agency for their six-year partnership with HRC and told riders and supporters their participation was a visual depiction of their support to the community.
"[It shows] that you want to be involved and that you're willing to be engaged and not be a bystander and allow [this crime] to go on," Young said.
"By partnering with Silverleaf, we're saying to our community partners that we're not in this by ourselves, we're in this together. Many of you have probably heard, 'Together we stand, divided we fall.' Together we are stronger. I appreciate your support by taking time to stand with HRC and Silverleaf, to say, 'No more.'"
Jillian Carden is the executive director for Silverleaf. She told the crowd that as a group and individuals, their voices have the power and influence to create change.
"There are things you can do in your everyday life that can help end sexual assault and rapes," Carden said. "It starts with having conversations with people you love and who respect you in order to change that mindset about [sexual assault and harassment]. That is where your biggest influence comes in. We, as an agency, will be here to treat, but we are not as powerful as you."
The ride was the culminating event held by HRC during April in observance of SAAPM. Earlier in the month, Evans and command leadership signed a proclamation pledging to continue the work of eliminating sexual assault and support for survivors, and HRC personnel were encouraged to wear jeans on Denim Day, April 25.