CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea - In support of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, the 549th Hospital Center and Brian D. Allgood Army Community Hospital here held an essay contest and asked Soldiers what they can and will do to make the unit a safer place from sexual assault and harassment.
1st Lt. Kristina Bean, a registered nurse in BDAACH's medical-surgical unit, won the contest by offering three strategies to promote a healthy and safe unit environment. Bean was recognized April 25 for winning the 549th HC/BDAACH SAAPM essay contest.
The SHARP Ambassador course provided Soldiers across the formation with necessary training and resources to prevent and respond to SHARP incidents as a first line of defense and build a culture of trust, dignity, and respect within the ranks.
The idea for a mid-level SHARP Ambassador course first came about as a result of the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command's monthly Sexual Assault Review Board.
The SARB includes an engagement called the “Gen Z Dialogue,” where junior Soldiers provide their perspective to command teams and leaders.
The SHARP Ambassador program includes lessons on how to intervene, techniques and skills on how to combat any issue with sexual harassment/assault and an in-depth explanation of the roles of SARCs and Victim Advocates.
Read the full essay by 1st Lt. Kristina Bean:
A foundation becomes stronger as each layer is created, but it also is weakened by hairline fractures that grow to become a perilous danger.
The Army’s foundation is its Soldiers, who actively train to deploy, fight, and win our nation’s wars. However, sometimes the enemy is found internally, as a service member who lacks respect for their comrades, and for the military as a whole, when they commit acts of sexual misconduct.
Even with the Army’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) Program, prevention of sexual misconduct is an ongoing task. Having peer ambassadors provide resources, an open dialogue, and taking to heart the Army Values are all ways to engage each formation in being active participants in preventing sexual misconduct.
A front-line example of the program is the SHARP Ambassadors embedded in each unit. The SHARP Ambassadors are trained to provide teaching on current resources and to recognize dangerous situations. As a platoon leader, I will help to create the opportunity for Soldiers to attend the course, furthering the discussion and awareness of SHARP and related programs. Peer educators are often more helpful for ongoing prevention because they are more directly involved with the units. SHARP Ambassadors in our unit can help to orient new and experienced Soldiers to available resources in Korea and expectations of zero tolerance of sexual misconduct.
Open dialogue is by definition a discussion between two or more parties. A benefit of open dialogue is that all participants have a role, leading to more buy-in on the topic of conversation. In the case of SHARP and related programs, a sense of responsibility and ownership is created through active discussion. This can be achieved by welcoming incoming Soldiers with my platoon sergeant and having a conversation about professional expectations set forth by leadership. Each Soldier has the opportunity to ask questions and voice their own opinions or concerns. This will help to reinforce the professionalism of our field and the Army Values that should be at the core of each action taken.
The Army Values contribute and build off each other to create a stronger Soldier and Army. While seemingly straightforward each one can be hindered by personal biases, such as differing viewpoints or ongoing disagreements. Recognizing those biases and being able to adjust one’s mindset is an important step in fully acknowledging another person. This is especially important in preventing sexual misconduct, as current disagreements should not stop one from intervening in a potentially dangerous situation. Two ways to internalize the Army Values are to highlight one each month through discussion and also to provide recognition when Soldiers truly demonstrate one. This provides positive feedback and encourages Soldiers to actively live the Army Values, not just repeat them.
Through the SHARP Ambassadors, open dialogue with incoming Soldiers, and recognition of individual Soldier achievements, the hairline fractures in the Army’s foundation can be strengthened. Recognizing and correcting those fractures early is an essential step in building a stronger unit. SHARP Ambassadors keep the unit engaged on prevention strategies and provide information on a day-to-day basis. Open dialogue about ongoing issues and concerns in the unit allows Soldiers the opportunity for their voices to be heard. The unit is further strengthened by each member not only knowing the Army Values but also practicing them.
All three of these strategies work together to promote a healthy and safe environment allowing the individual Soldiers to maximize their potential which maximizes the potential for the Army.