REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- The most effective employee education and prevention programs in the fight against sexual harassment and assault in the workplace have the full support of leadership at all levels.Leader involvement in the prevention of sexual harassment and assault is demanded both by the Secretary of the Army and by the employees who rely on leaders to enforce the values of dignity and respect in the workplace. At Army Materiel Command, such support is part of the leadership mission of AMC commander Gen. Gus Perna and Command Sgt. Maj. Rodger Mansker.“The Secretary of the Army has stressed the critical role of every member of the Army family to prevent sexual assault, and advocate for the victims and survivors of these crimes,” Perna and Mansker wrote in a proclamation encouraging employee support for Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month virtual activities planned in April by AMC’s Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention Program. The theme for the observance is “Building Cohesive Teams Through Character, Trust and Resilience. Protecting Our People Protects Our Mission.”“When sexual assault occurs within the Army, it compromises our force readiness and capability to successfully achieve missions,” they wrote in the proclamation. “Sexual assault lessens America’s trust in our ability to keep its sons and daughters safe. This is unacceptable. The Army family must uphold the ideal that defending a nation built on the principles of freedom, justice and liberty for all leaves no place for sexual assault.”Perna and Mansker urge AMC employees to not condone, tolerate or ignore inappropriate behaviors in the workplace, but to intervene to achieve a work environment free of sexual harassment and assault.“As an Army family, we must commit to speaking up and making our voices heard to prevent and defeat this insider threat,” the two leaders wrote.That kind of support, said Kim Green, AMC’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program manager, “makes a world of difference. It brings so much attention to prevention efforts and shows the workforce they will have the support they need if they have to report sexual harassment or assault.”Maureen Trainor, AMC’s Sexual Assault Response coordinator, has seen the difference leadership support makes in the feedback she receives from her SHARP training classes.“When employees have trust in their leadership that brings the whole Army together in working to prevent sexual assault, and it builds cohesive teams in the workplace. Little by little, over my 35-year career, I’ve seen the attitudes change. Now, SHARP is a leader priority across the Army and throughout the AMC enterprise,” she said.In 2004, the Department of Defense, followed by the Army in 2005, established response guidelines to follow in educating employees about sexual assault, assisting assault victims, and reporting sexual assault.Sexual harassment and assault can happen in any workplace environment, even when there is a robust prevention program in place, Green and Trainor said. For that reason, AMC and Redstone Arsenal have established a relationship with Crisis Services of North Alabama to provide needed services, including a 24-hour Helpline and a forensic nurse examiner, for victims. Other resources include Garrison Employee Assistance Programs, Army chaplains and health center staff, the Department of Defense Safe Helpline and Military OneSource.“In SHARP training, I want AMC employees to learn what is available to them,” Trainor said. “They may never be sexually assaulted. But, one day, someone who trusts them, may tell them they have been sexually assaulted. They may be able to help that victim by leading them to the resources and agencies that can provide the kind of support they need. There are so many barriers to reporting and intervention – fear, embarrassment, worry they will be seen as a troublemaker – and we want to help remove those barriers for victims by making sure they have the resources they need.”While sexual harassment is often a precursor to sexual assault, it is also more difficult to prevent because harassment can be subjective, Trainor said, explaining that what might be viewed as harassment by one employee may not be viewed the same way by another.“The situation should be handled at the lowest level possible,” Trainor said. “If an Army civilian thinks they have been sexually harassed, they can talk to their supervisor or to us in the SHARP office informally to discuss what actions can be taken. If it isn’t resolved at the employee-supervisor level, then we can help devise some type of dispute resolution or counsel them on how to file a formal complaint with the Equal Employment Office. We are all responsible for establishing a conducive command climate and, as members of the Army Civilian Corps, we are to follow the civilian creed and contribute to building a healthy workforce environment.”If a Soldier has been sexually harassed, their case is addressed by the SHARP office. All civilian cases of sexual harassment are resolved through the Garrison’s EEO.In the case of sexual assault, Green and Trainor said, both civilian and military victims have options on how to report the assault, including the agency they want to report it through, and if they want it investigated and prosecuted. SHARP counselors follow DoD guidance for either restricted reporting – where the victim doesn’t file a complaint or request an investigation – or unrestricted reporting – where a complaint is filed and made public on a need-to-know basis during an investigation.“In both situations, victims receive a full range of recovery and care services, including forensic examinations, medical treatment and counseling,” Green said, adding that restricted reporting can be changed to unrestricted if the victim decides later they want their attacker prosecuted.“A lot of victims have emotional reservations at first,” Trainor said. “They may be questioning their own behavior or they may think they are making too big of a deal out of it. The may be scared or confused.But, at some point, they may also think they want to hold their attacker accountable for what happened. Because this is a victim-based program, it’s completely up to the victim of how they want to handle this. There’s no pressure. No coercion. It’s always up to the victim.”Victims of sexual assault should call 9-1-1 for emergency assistance. Victims who want to report a sexual assault or who need counseling, and are not in an emergency situation, can contact Crisis Services, 256-716-1000; Redstone 24/7 Helpline, 256-924-0795; AMC Sexual Assault Response, 256-975-2368; the DoD Safe Helpline, 877-995-5247 or safehelpline.org; Military OneSource, 800-342-9647 or http://www.militaryonesource.mil; or, through mobile technology, the We Care App, Battle Buddy App, Circle of 6 App or 360 App.