FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Leaders at the 3rd Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment brought focus to the importance of proper handling of sexual harassment and assault response and prevention-related incidents during a rehearsal-of-concept drill June 10 at the battalion headquarters.
Company commanders, first sergeants and executive officers were informed of the duties and responsibilities of key personnel including drill sergeants, company victim advocates, and battalion and brigade sexual assault coordinators in the event a SHARP incident occurs.
Maj. Daniel O’Conner, 3rd Chemical Brigade operations officer, who assisted with organizing the drill while serving as the executive officer for the battalion, said it demonstrated how SHARP incidents should be properly handled in accordance with Army policy at all levels.
“The purpose of the SHARP ROC drill was to familiarize company and battalion leaders in the authorities, updates and continuum of care associated with SHARP incidents,” O’Connor said. “We envisioned conducting a drill based on time standards with each leader briefing their role at that point to gain and maintain understanding across our formation.”
Tables were set up representing each part of the SHARP reporting process, and attendees were shown the proper response from each entity.
Lt. Col. Matthew Mason, 3-10 commander, stressed the importance of victim advocates and said leadership is crucial to proper handling of a SHARP incident.
“A misunderstanding in the process from either can cause a trainee to lose trust in the SHARP program or set the trainee up for failure during the reporting procedure,” Mason said. “It is imperative that company leadership understands the process and authorities for each step. They need to be well versed in the overall process to ensure his or her team knows how to guide a trainee if an issue and/or concern arises during the training.”
Having motivated leaders who genuinely care about the program and are willing to spend the time to understand the purpose behind the process is key, said Sgt. 1st Class Ernest Ziegler, battalion sexual assault and response coordinator.
Ziegler added proper handling of SHARP-related incidents builds confidence in the program and leaders while ensuring individuals in need receive the care they deserve.
“This drill is beneficial to our battalion (because it) ensures the command teams and company victim advocates know exactly what their individual responsibilities are, and what the follow-on steps are to ensure quick, effective responses,” he said.
In addition to the drill, Mason said the battalion has created a trifold reference card the chain of command can use should a trainee bring an issue or concern to their level.
The trifold includes the duties, responsibilities, regulations and timeline for reporting, along with a flow chart of entities responsible for responding to incidents.
Mason said the SHARP reporting process and educating leaders on the most up-to-date regulation changes is paramount for victims.
“This is a mission we cannot fail,” he said. “We cannot allow the victim to become re-victimized because of our failure as leaders to understand the process and ensure we have the resources on hand to assist.”