By Spc. Andrew JoApril 3, 2019
Soldiers, civilians, and Family members gathered here, April 1, at Cole Park Commons to kick off this year's Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
"Although April is the month when we focus on sexual assault awareness and prevention," said Brig. Gen. John W. Brennan Jr., 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) deputy commanding general-operations. "We know that this is a critical aspect of readiness and demands our constant attention 24 hours a day, 365 days a year."
This year's SAAPM focus is shaping a culture of trust. Protecting our people protects our mission.
"I think we need to change the culture," said Sgt. 1st Class David Schrock, 101st Abn. Div. lead sexual assault response coordinator. "I think it just needs to get down to the lowest level that we need to be taking care of each other."
Reports of sexual assaults have increased because there is more knowledge of the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program, Schrock said.
"We consider this a good thing because the awareness is going up," he said. "People are more comfortable coming forward and getting help for themselves."
SHARP's change in its approach has made it more comfortable for survivors to come forward, Schrock said. The SARCs and victim advocates have less of the "tough guy" Army attitude.
Army directive 2018-23 changed the way the Army conducts training and gets away from the traditional Power Point slide show. Schrock said it gets the commanders to focus on smaller group trainings and only uses Power Point slides as a guide.
"People learn better with smaller groups and can actually have a discussion," Schrock said. "[The training] gives situations on how you would react to a situation, how [you would] intervene, and if you don't intervene what other options [you] have."
Some Soldiers don't know how to intervene or simply choose not to respond to sexual harassment or assault, he said.
"In my personal opinion that is the biggest problem Soldiers are having," Schrock said. "It prevents almost all sexual assaults, sometimes it can't be helped, but that's what we're here for, to provide the services needed."