SCOTT AFB, IL – Leaders from the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command highlighted the command’s strong stance against sexual assault with the signing of a Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month Proclamation at SDDC headquarters today.
April is National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, and the Army’s 2020 theme is "Building Cohesive Teams through Character, Trust and Resilience. Protecting Our People Protects Our Mission."
Although many events and activities have been cancelled or postponed as the Army continues to fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Maj. Gen. Stephen E. Farmen, SDDC commanding general, called the proclamation signing an important action to take, even if done informally.
“Sexual assault, just like the COVID-19 virus, is an enemy that we must fight together,” said Farmen. “We have to protect our force. By protecting our people, we protect the mission.”
Farmen signed the proclamation along with Michael R. Hutchison and Command Sgt. Maj. Rocky L. Carr, SDDC’s deputy to the commander and senior enlisted leader.
“We would normally hold a formal ceremony for the signing of the proclamation, but during this time we needed to be a little more creative,” said Lisa Coleman, SDDC’s Sexual Harassment Assault Response and Prevention program manager.
The first official Sexual Assault Awareness Month took place in 2001 after the National Sexual Violence Resource Center campaigned to have a month dedicated to sexual assault awareness. In 2009, President Barack Obama made the first official proclamation declaring April as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
According to Coleman, the SHARP program’s primary mission is to enhance Army readiness through the prevention of sexual assault, sexual harassment and associated retaliatory behaviors while providing comprehensive response capabilities.
Prior to the stay-at-home order to support social distancing, Coleman had scheduled numerous events throughout the month of April to promote the SHARP program and sexual assault awareness. Although those events have now been cancelled due to the pandemic, Farmen said SAAPM will still be observed throughout SDDC.
“While April is the official SAAPM observance month, we must focus our efforts on sexual assault awareness and prevention every day throughout the year,” Farmen said. “It's critical that we protect our force and ensure all of our Surface Warriors are TRACKING.”
TRACKING, an acronym Farmen uses to promote sexual assault awareness, diversity and a positive culture within SDDC, stands for:
T - Trust your command
R - Recognize vulnerabilities
A - Attack indiscipline
C - Change the culture
K - Know your part
I - Intervene now
N - Never compromise Army values
G - Grow professionals
If you have been a victim of sexual harassment or sexual assault, you can visit the Army’s sexual assault webpage at www.sexualassault.army.mil for help and resources or contact the SDDC SHARP Care Line at (618) 220-CARE (2273).