By Greg Wilson, ASC Public Affairs

ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to change the way community events are taking place. Under normal circumstances, as a way of announcing April as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, a proclamation signing ceremony for RIA and community leaders would be held.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, large gatherings have not been allowed since March 2020. This didn’t stop, however, the RIA Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Prevention office from getting the word out.

“A proclamation signing to kick off SAAPM is a tradition across the Army,” said Megan Osborne, the U.S. Army Sustainment Command SHARP program manager.

“Typically this would be a large event where the workforce would be invited to gather to witness the reading and signing of the proclamation, however, due to COVID, we were unable to host such an event this year.”

“We have expanded the RIA ceremony to include our community leaders and recognize that we are not in this alone and need to work together,” Osborne said.

The proclamation poster was taken to RIA and community leaders who were video recorded while signing it.

Osborne said the change hasn’t dampened support for the initiative and might have actually enhanced it.

“I believe we were able to garner more community participation with having the proclamation come to the senior leaders themselves this year,” she said. “Although this isn’t the ideal method to sign the proclamation, it has proven effective to encourage participation from our installation and community leadership.”

The RIA SHARP office encourages everyone to watch the video, and pledge to do their part to help end sexual harassment and assault in the U.S. military and society at large.