CLAY KASERNE, Germany – Roughly 50 Soldiers from 1-214th General Support Aviation Battalion, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, gathered over three days, in one hour sessions to work through a SHARP themed escape room, in order to gain awareness during Sexual Assault Prevention Month (SAAPM) at Clay Kaserne, Germany, from April 26-28, 2022.
"We wanted to bring awareness to SAAPM, every year we try to do something to bring awareness, but I wanted to change it up this year and make it a little bit more exciting for people and get people to think about what SAAPM really means and how it affects them and the people around them," explains Sgt. 1st Class Naomi Smith, the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SRC) for 12th Combat Aviation Brigade.
To change things up, Smith and Tawinka Sloan, the Victim Advocate for 12 CAB, brought in a unique tool in an "escape room" to allow Soldiers to be more hands-on and more physical. An escape room is when a team of individuals discovers clues, solves puzzles, and accomplishes tasks in one or more spaces to accomplish a set goal within a limited time.
"So that's why we came up with this particular escape room, there's a TSP (Training Support Package) from the SHARP Academy, and we just took it and ran with it," explains Smith. "With prevention in mind, the Army is making a big shift to help integrate prevention, and hopefully, we can learn ways to stop things before it happens."
This particular escape room is based on a scenario where there is an inappropriate Staff Sgt. who belittles, sends out memes, and makes dirty jokes to fellow Soldiers. For each session, five Soldiers were put into a room with a time limit of 60 minutes to escape or prevent the assault carried out by the Staff Sgt.
"We're actually able to get in there and be a team to figure it out instead of just watching a PowerPoint presentation. It's a good change of pace," said Sgt. Diego Alcantara, a crew chief assigned to Delta Company, 1-214th, when asked about learning SHARP with the escape room as compared to previous learning environments.
"Going through the escape room relaxes them," said Sloan. "Even though it's an escape room, it's SHARP related, like the one clue was verbal and denim day was [the clue] for the one lock, the puzzle pieces, different things still relate to SHARP."
A couple of examples of clues and puzzles to solve: find an indication on the calendar, 427, which is the clue to one of the locks and the "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" monkeys. Soldiers had to use a black light found in one of the boxes to light up the words "verbal, nonverbal, physical contact, below the monkey pictures.
SAAPM training remains vital to the Soldiers and the Army as a whole.
"SAAPM events are to reinforce everything that we constantly reiterate all year," said Sloan. "It's just something that we don't need to forget."
Contact the Wiesbaden SHARP office at (0162)296-6741 or DSN 53-SHARP (74277) 24 hours a day.
For information on reporting options, go to https://www.preventsexualassault.army.mil/