by Tisha Swart-Entwistle, Combined Arms Center Public Affairs Office

Army Veteran Jarett Wright spoke about "Overcoming Personal Disaster - A Male Survivor Perspective" during the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Academy Professional Forum Aug. 8, 2019 in the Lewis and Clark Center's Marshall Auditorium, Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Wright enlisted in 2009 and served on active duty with the 1st. Cavalry Division and in the Florida National Guard during his eight years in the Army. During his deployment to Iraq in 2010-2011 as a cavalry scout, he was a victim of sexual assault and hazing.

During his address, Wright recounted the events of the assault and hazing in a straight forward manner. Before the forum began he admitted that some of what he had to say might be hard to hear and if anyone needed to excuse themselves, he would understand.

"I don't censor myself… you're not going to offend me," Wright said.

Wright said that he has told his difficult story many times at formal and non-formal speaking engagements and estimates that he has addressed around 15,000 people in the last six years. He said that when he began speaking to groups, he wasn't sure if he was going to continue because of the difficult subject matter. Then, he said, he began having very personal experiences with some of his audience and feedback that he was helping people. He said he once had someone who wasn't even supposed to be at one of his talks showed up and later told him that he had kept them from killing themselves that day.

"Things like that have really shown me that my words and my story have a genuine impact on people," Wright said. "If me being uncomfortable for a few minutes can potentially save someone's life or change the way that they deal with everything they might be going through, then it is worth it for me."

Wright agreed that what happened to him changed his entire life and he struggled with his outlook on life. He talked about his battles with depression and his thoughts of suicide.

"How do I reset from that?" Wright said. "I'm trying to teach people how to see life events as just that, it's just an event and not something that should be dictating your future."

In 2014, Wright was featured in a video series by the Center for The Army Profession and Leadership on the effects of hazing and sexual assault on the army profession and can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dTrmtpeJHY.

Wright is currently a full-time student, working on his bachelor's degree in software development. Specifically, Wright said he would like to work in virtual reality.

"I want to give people experiences of things I use to change my mindset," Wright said.

The quarterly SHARP forums are organized by the SHARP Academy and are open to the community.