JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. - The U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Special Troops Battalion partnered with Sexual Assault Response Coordinators for a Sexual Harassment Assault Response and Prevention Amazing Race on April 21. The race emphasized the Army’s support and effort to end sexual assault and harassment within its force.
The STB supports Doctrine Command for TRADOC by providing command and control of administration, logistics, training, and military justice and operations, to enable TRADOC mission success.
Fort Eustis units formed six teams of 10, and participated in healthy team building, knowledge, and physical fitness testing through four challenge points across Fort Eustis. To navigate from point to point, teams completed a word unscramble. SARCs required all teams to be present and answer two questions on an index card to hand back. Each exercise performed was dependent on whether a question was answered correctly or incorrectly.
Command Sgt. Maj. Paul Biggs, Futures and Concepts Center, announced the winning team and presented a prize. This event was in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
“We are highlighting [Sexual Assault Harassment Response and Prevention] for a month, and that’s great. But it is something we should be doing all twelve months out of the year,” Biggs said.
Promoting an environment of mutual trust between leaders and Soldiers is an Army value, which allows cohesive teams to grow–eliminating unwanted behaviors and improving unit readiness.
“I do not want my spouse to [experience sexual assault or harassment],” Biggs said. He also stated he felt gaining knowledge about SHARP would help him educate his son about sexual misconduct.
Biggs shares that sexual harassment and assault prevention is more than a training requirement. Beyond the Army’s stance to eradicate sexually harmful behaviors, members should value it like family.
“Connecting to the organization is great, but it’s more than that. As an Army, we are a family,” Biggs said.
At one of the Amazing Race stops, SARCs asked questions about bystander intervention. Teams conducted 50-100 hand release push-ups depending on correct or incorrect answers. An active bystander performs by:
• Directing by addressing the perpetrator and removing either party from the situation
• Distracting the perpetrator by changing the subject
• Delegating an additional person to help intervene, or calling on help from the chain of command
First Sgt. Brian Smetana, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, emphasized the importance of bystander intervention, and what it means for him as a Soldier.
”Sexual assault is a big problem. It is going to take every Soldier to understand that it is their duty to intervene if they witness an event that doesn’t look right,” Smetana said. “As Soldiers we need to have each other’s back like we would down range.”
The Fiscal Year 2019 Army Annual Report recorded that in 2018, an estimated of 24.2 percent of active duty women and an estimated 6.3 percent of active duty men indicated experiencing sexual assault.
Sgt. Cheyenne Bickerstaff, 93rd Signal Brigade, shared that fellow family, friends, and Soldiers she knows have experienced unwanted sexual behaviors.
“An event like this shows me that I am in a community that supports people who have experienced unfortunate situations,” Bickerstaff said. “If I were to ever be in a situation like that, I know I have my battle buddies to my left and right. They don’t agree with it or support it.”
The Army encourages reporting, thoroughly investigates unrestricted reports of sexual assault and complaints of sexual harassment, while holding offenders appropriately accountable. If you witness or become a victim of sexual misconduct, contact your leadership or a SHARP representative.