FORT DRUM, New York -- Throughout April, the U.S. Army observed Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month to promote awareness and strive for cultural change that will eliminate sexual violence across the armed forces. To do their part, the staff at Fort Drum's Guthrie Ambulatory Health Care Clinic coordinated and participated in multiple events throughout the month to foster a climate of prevention.
One of the more notable events was the Stomp Out Sexual Harassment/Assault Step Challenge. For the challenge, multiple offices and sections throughout the clinic formed teams which logged their daily steps to bring awareness to and help eradicate sexual violence.
"It was just awesome," said Jacqueline Fox, the Guthrie Clinic's Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention coordinator. "It got people involved and encouraged employees to walk around the clinic. You saw people meeting and interacting with people, they normally don't meet with; because they're sitting in their offices."
More than 175 clinic employees and Soldiers participated. By the end of the month, the 17 teams logged a total of 33,991,664 steps, traveling a total distance of more than 15,000 miles. To put it into perspective, that's the equivalent of one person walking to New Delhi, India and back.
"It went really well because we have individuals, who are still engaged and continuously tracking their steps," Fox said. "It promoted healthy eating and fitness (and) it encouraged people to get out of their offices, be a part of a team and build awareness."
Two of the teams contributed significantly to that final number. Both the teams from the Primary Care Clinic and the pharmacy logged more than 5 million steps each.
Patricia Starr, an administrative specialist with the clinic, walked a total of 598,018 steps for a distance of approximately 266 miles -- the equivalent of walking to South Burlington, Vermont and back.
"I am proud to have participated in the (Medical Department Activity) Stomp Challenge and walking 598,018 steps in 30 days," Starr said. "It was truly my best effort. However, I look forward to beating that in the next challenge."
Another team that significantly contributed to the overall step count was the team from the Warrior Transition Battalion. Spearheaded by Staff Sgt. Christopher Manzano, the battalion's victim advocate, the 23-person team logged a total of 2,452,604 steps.
In addition to logging their steps, the WTB team also interacted with Soldiers and staff members during daily formations as well as organizing an informational table at the Warrior Transition Unit resource fair, providing additional information to staff on how to eliminate sexual assault and harassment within the ranks.
The Stomp Challenge has become a semi-annual event which will reoccur again in October. However, it wasn't the only event which took place in April.
The month's activities also included Teal Fridays, where employees wore teal shirts every Friday; Denim Day, where employees wore denim jeans in as a visible means of protest against the misconceptions that surround sexual assault; and a clothesline project to name a few.
Additionally, the 10th Mountain Division SHARP team, with the support from MEDDAC, WTB and the Fort Drum Dental Activity, hosted a senior leader forum to raise awareness and provide education on sexual assault and harassment.
During the Journey to Justice forum, Capt. Ashley Mount and Rachel Countryman, Guthrie Clinic sexual assault forensic examiners, provided an in-depth explanation of the sexual assault forensic examination process as well as guidance on victim and legal matters.
While Sexual Assault and Awareness Prevention Month may be over, the Soldiers and staff at the Guthrie Clinic will continue to promote a safe and healthy work environment free from sexual harassment and sexual assault.