CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait -- The 401st Army Field Support Brigade held a Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) combative class here, April 13.
A group of about 20 people comprised of Soldiers and Army civilians participated in the "Combat Sexual Assault" event.
"We wanted to offer some kind of training for what to do if an offender hasn't been deterred and someone is suddenly in a dire situation," said Sgt. 1st Class Sandra Toler, sexual assault response coordinator, 401st AFSB.
"Often times when we talk about SHARP we tend to focus on prevention," Toler said. "We talk a lot about what sexual assault and sexual harassment is and we talk about bystander intervention but we don't talk enough about what happens when that fails."
Participants spent more than two hours learning and practicing physical defense techniques specifically designed to escape an attacker.
"I hope people came away from the class with some effective techniques, and some confidence so if they find themselves in that situation, they're less likely to freeze up and they can fight back and get away from an offender," Toler said.
The event was part of a month-long Army awareness campaign in support of the Army's Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
"I think it's always more effective to get people out of the classroom and into a more engaging type of training," Toler said.
"My job as a SARC is to help people, whether that's helping them find comfort after an incident or educating them on how they can avoid certain situations," she said. "I like helping people, and the ideal way for me to do that is to give people the tools to prevent a sexual assault from occurring at all."
The 401st AFSB's senior leadership has been encouraging everyone to participate in SHARP program events and emphasizing the importance of the program across the brigade.
"The SHARP program is a commander's program, but really it's very much an individual program," Toler said. "It's on each individual to protect their neighbor, and to protect themselves. If we can protect our people, we can protect our mission."