JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. — The Futures and Concepts Center held a virtual Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month Town Hall event on Thursday, where more than 117 attendees joined Lt. Gen. Scott McKean, Deputy Commanding General, Army Futures Command and Director, Futures and Concepts Center and Obbie West, international spoken word artist, advocate, and author.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. This year's theme, 'Prevention Starts with You, ' highlights how we play a significant role in preventing unwanted sexual behavior.
Due to the uniqueness of FCC, the organization operates between 18 different locations in the United States and overseas, and these events are vital to ensuring every member of the organization understands the importance of taking care of the Army’s number one priority: People.
Tela Thomason, FCC Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, organized the event.
Thomason stated, “Events like our Town Hall reinforce the message of Prevention, and April is the month we choose to highlight those efforts. However, what is critical to remember is that the individuals who choose to intervene and break the cycle of sexual violence are the key to our success.”
Leaders and Soldiers must work in unison to build camaraderie and trust amongst the ranks. This trust allows teams to focus on mission and unit readiness and eliminate harmful behaviors by preventing sexual harassment, sexual assault, and associated retaliation.
West brings a unique perspective to a subject that may be hard to talk about. His uncut, straightforward approach is thought-provoking and serves as a call for action for all attendees.
“We have to emphasize how important trust and respect are because that's the foundation of the problem we're talking about,” West said. “It's a lack of trust and a lack of regard. The lack of regard happens first and then develops a lack of trust.”
During the Bystander Intervention portion of the event, West touched on how predators or perpetrator’s devise ways to hide their intentions and the need for bystanders to be more engaged.
"Rid yourself of the phrase, "It's not my business." Our morals will not waver; what's wrong is wrong, regardless of who is the wrongdoer," West stated.
The U.S. Army has a diverse workforce that is inclusive in valuing and integrating each individual's perspectives, ideas, and contributions into how an organization functions and makes decisions. This training shows that everyone is responsible for being aware of harmful behaviors and reporting them irrespective of rank or position.
“Mr. West's work is fundamental in furthering that message and being a powerful voice for our advocate community. I feel blessed Mr. West could join us here at FCC so that we could share his compelling gifts and ideas,” said Thomason.
Additionally, FCC will participate in the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Special Troops Battalion Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Amazing Race event on April 25 and the Denim Day Observance on April 27. FCC and its subordinate organizations participate in SAAPM events to reinforce the SHARP's positive messaging to prevent further incidents within our ranks.