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(Photo Credit: Markeith Horace) VIEW ORIGINAL

The Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia was named the Army recipient of the Department of Defense Promoting Excellence in Prevention Award.

The Promoting Excellence in Prevention Award focuses on activities that support a comprehensive approach to prevent sexual assault.

MCOE was recognized for their participation in the evidence-based process called “Getting to Outcomes,” which they volunteered for in October 2018.

“Not all prevention programs may work with all populations,” says Dr. James Helis, Director, Army Resilience Directorate. “MCoE recognized each population had their own distinct trends and demographics and designed prevention activities specifically for Initial Entry Training and the Basic Officer Leader Course environments.”

MCoE is one of 10 military sites throughout DoD participating in this effort. During “Getting to Outcomes,” or GTO, each military site selects a prevention program or activity to implement at their location. GTO lays out the 10-steps needed to identify, select, plan, and evaluate the best prevention strategies to prevent sexual violence.

The Army pre-selected two prevention activities for MCoE to implement and evaluate through GTO.

The first prevention activity, “Sex Signals,” is conducted during weeks 10-12 of Initial Entry Training for a target population of newly enlisted male and female Soldiers in the Infantry and Armor series.

“Sex Signals” is an interactive exploration of cultural messaging about gender, sexuality, sexual health, and intimate relationships. “Sex Signals” examines the roles that culture and privilege play in justifying unhealthy and dangerous beliefs about what is acceptable social and sexual behavior. The prevention activity consists of a facilitated dialogue and several semi-improvisational scenes that lead to a focused discussion on the role participants play in ending sexual violence. Upon conclusion of the prevention activity, participants should be able to positively change the way they think, communicate and act by encouraging bystander intervention in all aspects of their life.

The second prevention activity, “Got Your Back,” is conducted in the Basic Officer Leader Course for a target population of male and female junior officers. “Got Your Back” is an interactive conversation that integrates the research on sexual predation and bystander intervention into a discussion about sexual violence.

The training addresses how sexualized language, and a tolerance for coercive cultural norms contribute to an environment that allows perpetrators to offend against both female and male victims, and avoid accountability. Participants are taught critical skills that enable them to identify multiple points along the continuum of harm for them to intervene and support potential victims.

The MCoE “Getting to Outcomes” team is comprised of the following personnel: Ms. Michelle Fonseca, SHARP Program Manager/”Getting to Outcomes” Team Leader; Master Sergeant Kizzie Brown, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator/”Getting to Outcomes” member; Sergeant First Class Kendall Willridge, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator/”Getting to Outcomes” member; Ms. Cynthia Barren, SHARP Trainer/”Getting to Outcomes” evaluator; and Mr. Thomas Wisman, SHARP Analyst/”Getting to Outcomes” member.

“MCoE is most deserving of the DoD Promoting Excellence in Prevention Award,” said Ms. Jill Londagin, SHARP Program Director, “not only for the work completed so far but for on-going prevention efforts to develop an installation-level comprehensive prevention strategy plan that supports the DOD Prevention Plan of action.”

MCoE has the unique mission of training maneuver Soldiers and leaders to prepare them for combat. MCoE trains approximately 58,059 Soldiers at the 68 courses offered at Fort Benning such as Infantry & Armor Basic Training, Ranger School, Airborne School, and Infantry & Armor Branch Functional Courses.

MCoE also supports prevention efforts for a workforce of over 13,177 permanent party, 32,942 military dependents, 22,687 trainees (weekly average), and 9,930 Federal Civilian employees.

In addition, Fort Benning supports over 125,000 people in the Chattahoochee Valley who have a connection to Fort Benning as Soldiers and their Family members, retirees and their Families, contractors, and Department of the Army Civilians.