FORT STEWART, Ga.— In an effort to approach the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) training with a new and more interactive method, the 293rd Military Police Company, 385th Military Police Battalion, created a themed escape room for their Soldiers on February 5, 2021. With units looking for more effective ways to educate Soldiers and prevent toxic and corrosive incidents within their organizations, the team channeled their creativity.
“It creates a non-traditional environment for training and promotes that hard discussion that Soldiers don’t like to talk about in front of leadership,” said Staff Sgt. Gerrod Loud, the battalion SHARP representative with the 385th Military Police Battalion. “I feel like they learn more because at the end of the escape room, we talk about things pertaining to each room.”
The Soldiers were sent into each of three rooms with their squads to participate in three SHARP related, scenario-based activities. Each room correlated with what sexual assault or harassment scenario was most likely to happen in that room. The rooms were titled “Reporting,” “Intervene” and “Consent.”
“I chose those topics for the rooms because I feel like they are very big topics when it comes to SHARP, and they have a lot of gray area in them,” said Sgt. Joshua G. Roberson, the company level schools noncommissioned officer-in-charge of 293rd MP Co. “But I feel like if we can bring more light to them, Soldiers will have a better understanding of them.”
In the rooms, the Soldiers received four to five clues and had approximately 20 minutes to solve them in order to “escape” the room.
Upon entering the Reporting room, Soldiers saw the company operations office with the battalion SHARP representative present. It was centered around reporting, the differences between restricted and unrestricted reports, and to who you can take each type of report.
“We wanted to emphasize on who you can report to, the different types of reports, the different types of complaints and the differences between sexual assault and sexual harassment,” said Roberson.
The Intervene room was set up in the barracks common area. It had a poker table set up with a couple of empty alcohol bottles. It simulated a weekend where Soldiers might have spent time outside of work with one another.
“We put it in a public area due to the likelihood that if there was something inappropriate going on, there would be someone there able to intervene and stop the actions from going further,” said Roberson.
The MP company set up a barracks room for the Consent segment of the training. The training there centered around giving proper consent, taking back consent and making sure the person is in the right state of mind to give consent.
“We used black lights, invisible ink and encouraged the soldiers to use their investigative skills as an MP to search for these clues in this room,” Roberson said. “That was one thing we were really proud of, being able to get our hands on those types of props.”
Once the Soldiers solved all the clues in the room, the NCO in charge of monitoring that room took the time to discuss with the Soldiers what they had learned or gained from the training.
“It’s a little more interactive; it’s hands on,” said Sgt. Brianna Decker, an MP with the 293rd MP Co. and participant of the training. “You’re working as a team to actually think about the scenario that’s going on and think about the definitions of everything that we’re doing.”
“Talking about it a little more makes it easier to retain the information,” she said. “It also makes it a fun way to learn about a serious topic that we should be talking about more.”
Although this method does not replace the annual SHARP training according to the company leadership, it serves as a supplemental, more creative and interactive way for Soldiers to receive and retain the information received. Their leaders assert that it allows for them to train their Soldiers through realistic and challenging exercises and get away from the typical slide presentation style of training.