By Eric PilgrimMarch 28, 2019
Plans are underway by officials from the post's various Sexual Harassment Assault Response & Prevention offices to make this year one to remember in the fight to end sexual assault and harassment in the military.
Leading the charge at Fort Knox is Dr. Rushaunda Farmer, the garrison's SHARP coordinator.
"Sexual assault has always been, really, this taboo subject that no one wants to talk about," said Farmer. "This has to be something that stays at the forefront of our minds."
SHARP coordinators have come up with several events throughout the month aimed at educating the workforce about SHARP-related issues in interactive and unconventional ways.
One of the events, beginning April 2, is a weekly Teal Ribbon Scavenger Hunt. Every Tuesday, SHARP questions will be posted at 8 a.m. through KNOXINFO emails and three Fort Knox Facebook pages: the official Fort Knox page, the Army Community Service page and the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation page.
"People will then call my office or the ACS front desk - (502) 624-3323 or 624-6291," said Farmer. "They have to call their answer in, and we will tell them if their answer is correct or not."
Those with right answers will get a clue to a specific location at Fort Knox, where they will find a teal ribbon and other SHARP resources. Farmer said winners can then take the ribbon to ACS for gift prizes.
Officials from 1st Brigade, U.S. Army Cadet Command, will be hosting SHARP Pledge Week April 8-12.
A large teal outlined ribbon will be standing in the lobby of the main Exchange. Titled "Sexual Assault Is Just Another Phrase Until It Isn't: What Will You Pledge?" Farmer said the intent is for people to commit to taking a stand against sexual assault by writing it on a sticky note and placing it on the ribbon.
"This looks at it through a different lens because you're putting down what you specifically are going to do - not a pledge that's pre-printed," said Farmer. "It's a little more personal."
The official kickoff to all the events happens April 10 at Flipper Field, which is adjacent to Natcher Physical Fitness Center. The event will include a SHARP proclamation signing by the installation commanding general, a SHARP Expo and a SHARP Cup Field Meet.
Representatives from more than 20 post and community-based sexual assault and harassment assistance programs and organizations will be on hand at the Expo to inform attendees about sexual assault- and harassment-related issues and resources. The field meet will pit eight-member teams against each other for bragging rights, including a trophy. Farmer said each team must comprise at least two females and one officer. Events will include a relay, fireman's carry and other challenges, but not all are physical.
"One of the events is a SHARP puzzle, which they are going to have to configure and move from one location to the next," said Farmer.
She added that those gathered will also be responsible for helping their teams win. A ball will be tossed into the crowd and depending on who catches it, correct answers to SHARP questions on the ball will convert to additional points.
"They can earn points for their unit's team," said Farmer. "That may be the difference between first and second place."
Other events include a post-wide kickball tournament April 18, a Denim Day walk at Ireland Army Health Clinic from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 24, and U.S. Army Human Resources Command's annual motorcycle ride April 25, starting in the HRC parking lot at 1 p.m. and riding to Silverleaf Sexual Trauma Recovery Services in Elizabethtown and back.
While all the events are geared toward lighthearted fun and competiveness, Farmer said the messages behind them are serious, and community leaders have declared their active support of all of these efforts, demonstrating that post leadership takes sexual harassment and assault matters seriously.
"When we're talking about it, when we're creating these protective environments where we're speaking out and saying, 'These things are wrong,' and 'There's going to be zero tolerance,' and 'When survivors come forward we're going to take care of them,' then we've opened a door for survivors and they feel just a little bit more comfortable walking through it," said Farmer. "If we don't do that, the door stays closed."