Representatives from the Army’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Program joined University of Kansas facilitators Aug. 14 and Aug. 20 on campus at KU in Lawrence, Kan., to teach students about sexual violence prevention.
According to the University of Kansas Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center, the university hosts a bystander intervention program called Jayhawks Give a Flock (or Flock) for first-year and transfer students during the first few weeks of school.
The program informs students of risk behaviors associated with sexual assault, intervention techniques to prevent sexual violence and resources available at the university.
Army SHARP Academy Instructor and Writer Marvin Lockett II said SHARP began reaching out in 2016 to regional organizations to develop educational outreach programs. He said KU was an ideal partner because of its military-affiliated staff, students and ROTC program.
Lockett developed a relationship between SHARP and KU’s equivalent programs. He worked with Jen Brockman, KU Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center director, to exchange information about programming in the military and KU communities and how to close the gap on sexual violence.
Lockett said SHARP has participated in Flock twice and recently added eight team members and instructors from the SHARP Academy to serve as facilitators during Flock programs on campus. He said the SHARP team enthusiastically teaches students and refers them to resources.
“We in the SHARP community, especially here on this installation, have so many resources in terms of education and knowledge on this topic. What we bring to the table when we go to KU is the fact that…although we’re not professors, we’re outside of the box, so (students) get to talk to us more,” Lockett said, also referencing the benefit of teaching without being a mandatory reporter.
He said the program at KU focuses on large-scale prevention and emphasizes bystander intervention because often, more than one individual may witness the potential for sexual violence.
“Discussing (bystander intervention) and discussing the impacts of what could happen if they don’t do something is definitely one of the things that is beneficial in that forum, especially for college kids,” Lockett said.
Lockett said the Flock program also shares the statistics of sexual violence by demographic during training sessions, which can help those on campus identify focal points for prevention.
“It’s all broken down through race, demograhic, sexual orientation… I think that’s very important for a lot of communities because it brings awareness,” Lockett said. “(KU) got this right. They got this one right and they’re taking advantage of it, and it’s supported through prevention courses each student has to take.”
He said students often follow suit in crowds, and it can be challenging to teach them bystander intervention. Lockett said SHARP facilitators attempt to emphasize the value of breaking collective behaviors to address issues and protect others. He said he finds students are very receptive to the information and willing to make changes to help prevent sexual violence.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re in a college campus or on a military installation, it doesn’t matter about the age of the student or the age of the soldier — we still have these problems going because of society,” Lockett said.
Lockett said he plans to continue SHARP’s relationship with KU and reach out to other universities.
“It’s anything so that we can go ahead and make these connections that help all of us learn, share and grow in terms sexual violence, so we can fix this together,” Lockett said.