The Sexual Harassment and Assault Response Prevention (SHARP) program at the 8th Theater Sustainment Command has remained a priority for senior leaders and junior soldiers. In support of one of Maj. Gen. David Wilson’s, Commanding General of the 8th TSC, priorities, the Sexual Assault Response Coordinators and soldiers from 8th TSC, 8th Military Police Brigade, and the 130th Engineer Brigade brought awareness to soldiers, Department of Defense civilians, and family members through an innovative “Real Teal” play.
On March 9, and March 15-16, the soldiers displayed their acting skills at Fort Shafter and Schofield Barrack, Hawaii theaters, where the soldiers delivered an innovative and impactful training event to bring awareness to the SHARP program and SHARP related incidents.
As each person entered the auditorium, they were handed a red card that could be held up when the individual saw a red flag for sexually harassment or assault-like actions during the Real Teal play.
“The purpose of the Real Teal event was to provide a non-traditional impactful SHARP training outside of PowerPoint,” said Sgt. 1st Class David Ford, 8th TSC SARC.
The play exposed those in attendance to real dangers of sexual harassment and sexual assault that may occur on or off duty.
Ford stated that the play provided something that viewers could visually see as opposed to the standard Army annual training.
“All the past training was in an office setting, so we decided to get away from the office and actually take it to the motor pool, a party at someone’s house, and to some place where a SHARP incident may occur,” said Ford. “SHARP related incidents are not just occurring in the office.”
This scenario-based training demonstrated the difference between right and wrong, and showed the audience how to handle different SHARP related situations.
“The main objective of Real Teal was to bring awareness to the different behaviors, the different actions that could lead up to sexual harassment and sexual assault,” said Ford. “We showed them different versions of the scenarios to ensure soldiers understood, what right looks like.”
With more than 1,500 soldiers, DoD civilians, and family members in attendance over a two day period, soldiers such as Sgt. 1st. Class Sherrie Wooten, the chaplain’s assistant for the 8TSC, had positive feedback for the impactful event.
“The training was spot on, very realistic and engaging,” said Wooten. “The play depicted a realization of how sexual assault and harassment occurs within any organization and it opened my mind to different perspectives on how an individual views sexual assault and harassment and the impact that it can have on an individual.”
With the nature of the play, SARCs from the 8th MP Bde., 130th Engineer Bde., and 8th TSC all were standing by to assist personnel who could have been retraumatized by the realistic event.
Ford stated that a hand full of victims who attended the play walked out due to reliving a traumatic experience; however, SARCs were readily available to assist and provide support.
After the play Wooten noted that she thought about how the play impacted victims.
“My biggest take away was the impact it can have on the victims and their struggles and whether or not they [Soldier] should report it or not,” said Wooten.
Reporting SHARP related incidents is never easy for a victim; however, with this training personnel know what to look for and are encouraged to report SHARP related incidents to their unit SARC.
“When I first got to this unit there were numerous cases, but with SHARP as a priority for both senior leaders and soldiers, we have decreased the number of cases across our formation,” said Ford. “With Maj. Gen. Wilson making it a priority, it has trickled down to the brigades and subordinate units from there.”
From senior leaders to subordinates and SARCs, the SHARP program remains a priority across all formations.
Ford noted that the programs effectiveness has to do with the brigade commanders making SHARP education and awareness a priority within their formation and the organization has benefited from dedicated SARCs.
“SARCs have invested themselves in the program,” said Ford. “They continue to find innovative ways to educate and bring awareness to their formations about the SHARP program. We have changed SARC at some of the echelons and the awareness has carried over and continues to bring awareness to the program.”
By bringing awareness, the command teams and SARCs continue to find innovative ways to provide awareness.
“The play was a good idea and successful,” said Ford. “We had nothing but positive comments from the U.S. Army Pacific’s program manager all the way down to junior soldiers because it was not just another traditional one-hour block of instruction through PowerPoint or just another annual training, it was realistic scenarios that soldiers, civilians, and family members may encounter.”
With Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month starting April 1, SARCs under 8th TSC remain committed to bringing awareness to SHARP.
The 8th TSC is slated to host another Take Back the Night event at Schofield Barracks, as well as a Safety Stand Down and Denim Day to continue prevention and awareness efforts.