By Sgt. Mariah JonesJanuary 21, 2020
Fort Bliss, Texas - Leaders across 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade hosted Army Physical Readiness Training at Biggs Park, Fort Bliss, Texas, Nov. 20, 2019, focusing on Sexual Assault Prevention and Equal Opportunity scenarios to bring greater awareness on how to respond to such situations.
Victim Advocates, Sexual Assault Response Coordinators and Equal Opportunity Leaders shared ten combat related stations where Soldiers were tested on their ability to intervene, act and answer related questions while engaged in an exercise.
Staff. Sgt Mario Escobar, 11th ADA brigade victim advocate, helped coordinate the event and spoke about the importance of the training. "It gives the Soldier's the opportunity to have a real world experience of SHARP related incidents that can occur during combat operations and how it'll affect individuals and unit readiness," said Escobar.
He also noted that Soldiers in the age range of 20 to 24 fall into the "at risk" category to experience Sexual Assault and Harassment more than any other age group. "That is why we have our junior enlisted Soldiers out here, most of our brigade's audience that falls within that age group are Specialist's and below," said Escobar.
During the training, Soldiers observed leaders violating SHARP and EO policies during the scenario-based training event. For example, one leader purposefully segregated the soldiers based on the color of their skin and chose who would do an exercise and who wouldn't. Some leaders purposefully said SHARP related remarks in a playful manner. The Soldiers then intervened and made appropriate decisions and on-the-spot corrections to reduce or eliminate the violations.
"Incidents of horse playing is common among the ranks of E1-E4, and this training provided the opportunity for those Soldiers to be active bystanders and learn techniques on how to intervene and prevent future SA/SH incidents," said Sgt. 1st Class Anyelin Bee, brigade sexual assault response coordinator.
The training exposed Soldiers with a toxic environment while also being faced with harsher conditions during the training, adding an additional layer of challenges throughout the event. Soldiers were required to wear their Improved Outer Tactical Vest with Plates and their Advanced Combat Helmet in order to increase the stress of the physical training they faced at each station.
"I think it's more effective being placed under harsher conditions because it allowed me to retain the information more as opposed to sitting in a classroom listening to a PowerPoint briefing," said Spc. Robert Young.
For more information on SHARP and EO visit https://www.sexualassault.army.mil and https://www.army.mil/standto/2014-03-21.