The Fort Knox Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention office is using new ways to educate and assist the workforce during the mandated social parameters of COVID-19.Dr. Rushaunda Farmer, the sexual response coordinator for U.S. Army Garrison at Fort Knox, said a combination of technology and social media is allowing Fort Knox SHARP programs to train personnel as well as to reach out to victims and survivors of sexual assault.“Right now, the biggest thing is trying to ensure that despite this new normal, victims and survivors know that SHARP is still here for them,” said Farmer. “We need to ensure we don’t lose the human connection. We’re not able to reach out to them physically, so we’re reaching out to them virtually.”“We’re still here – maybe not face-to-face right now, but we’re still reaching out to you.”Farmer said some virtual programs are designed to educate the workforce while other programs are designed to get victims and survivors the help they need.“The garrison hosted virtual scavenger hunts to familiarize participants with a variety of websites and resources offered,” she said. “Other SHARP programs on the installation are posting artwork from survivors on our social media, and daily inspirational quotes are being posted on KNOXINFO to offer hope during this time.”Presenting heavy issues in a lighter manner is often helpful to get people to discuss these types of topics, said Farmer.“The reality is this is a serious issue. I’m not suggesting that we sugarcoat it, but I think we can scare people away if we’re too ‘in your face,’” she said. “We have to create a forum where people are comfortable talking about uncomfortable issues — when it best suits them, and when they are ready.”Providing a means to facilitate that conversation is something Farmer developed before the pandemic, but it has proven timely during the directives for social isolation. One example is the Local Safe Help Room, which began over a year ago.“Initially, I’d log into the chatroom to virtually speak anonymously to anyone who needed to be heard,” Farmer said. “I opened every Friday this month because those were going to be the days we had our actual events. With the distancing, I like to have the room open and available more now to be available when they’re ready.”Farmer said she is anticipating a greater need for a safe place to talk in the weeks ahead.“This isolation period, though it has nothing to do with them personally, can be a trigger. Any kind of sexual violence is deeply personal, and survivors can feel very alone,” said Farmer. “You couple feeling alone with actually being alone and it can cause everything to come to the surface.Farmer said it’s vitally important that those reaching for help find the right helpers reaching back to them.“It is so important to let them know that through whatever different avenue, we are here to support them,” said Farmer. “It’s my hope that they see something of what we’re doing, and they find the strength to press forward – to see the truth that they’re not defined by what happened to them.“We’re still here – maybe not face-to-face right now, but we’re still reaching out to you.”