FORT POLK, La. — Sober consent in intimate situations and taking care of your battle buddies or any human being when sobriety and consent are in question were just a couple of the key issues discussed one of several Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Program training sessions May 18-19 at Fort Polk’s Bayou Theater.
Fort Polk service members, Department of Defense employees and dependents attended The SHARP training called, “Can I Kiss You,” led by internationally renowned speaker, Mike Domitrz.
Domitrz is the author of three books and an award-winning DVD. He is one of the world’s leading influencers and thought-leaders on the topics of respect and consent.
The presentation engages the audience with interactive questions, an intense, inclusive approach — led by Domitrz — that he said makes participants an active part of the training process.
“We ask questions about the world they are experiencing right now and let their answers drive the conversation. That gives them ownership over the choices they will make after they walk out these doors,” he said.
This presentation is different from other trainings that may deliver the same information but have little to no direct interaction with the audience, according to Domitrz. He said when people experience the same training over and over, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the results will continue to be the same.
“We want to change those results and encourage a different perspective. That means building a new culture founded on respect for all,” he said.
Domitrz said some of the main lessons he wants Soldiers and civilians to take away from the SHARP training include choosing to be their best self, choosing the culture they live in and showing respect for others in intimate situations. “Consent is not the standard of excellence. It is the bare minimum requirement. Ask first and respect the answer,” he said.
Master Sgt. Mark Dunlop, Joint Readiness Training Center Operations Group, attended the event and said the training is valuable to continue the Army’s goals when it comes to sexual harassment and assault.
“We all need to be on the same page to ensure we are adhering to the Army values and the greater goal of taking care of one another,” he said.
Sgt. Sheppard Alaimaleata, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, also attended the training. Alaimaleata said programs like this help Soldiers learn to be smart and become better people.
“NCOs have to talk to their Soldiers and help them understand that it is imperative that they listen and that no means no,” he said.
Domitrz said he knows he is reaching his audience and making a difference based on the feedback he gets from the post event survey he has his audiences take.
“After they take this training, about 90 percent of participants say they are more likely to ask for consent in their personal interactions, intervene in other situations that involve alcohol and sexual harassment and assault and more likely to reach out to loved ones who have experienced sexual assault,” he said.