FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Senior leaders from across Fort Leonard Wood meet once a month for Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention, or SHARP, training. The purpose of the monthly training is to keep the chain of command from senior commanders to company commanders informed of changes to SHARP and to highlight the goals of the SHARP program, according to Dr. Paul Broner, SHARP program manager.
Capt. Jaron Bintz, Company A, 554th Engineer Battalion commander, uses the training to keep up with those important changes to the program.
“It’s hard to keep up with all the updates to the program’s policies and regulations. They really push out some really good information so I think it is important training for the command teams,” Bintz said. “I also think they do a really good job with the skits.”
The SHARP program often uses skits to demonstrate different scenarios of sexual assault taking place so that those attending the training can see first-hand what an incident of sexual assault looks like and then be able to identify an incident when it occurs.
According to Carol Oberwager, a Sexual Assault Response Coordinator for the garrison, the skit presented on Sept. 27 in Lincoln Hall Auditorium was different.
“This skit, titled ‘Walk a Mile in Their Shoes’, is the first time we have shown what a victim endures from the time of the assault up through the first interview with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division and how many times they may have to repeat the telling of the assault to others,” Oberwager said.
Staff Sgt. Dakota Klein, 701st Military Police Battalion SARC and also an actor in the skit, said it is important for command teams to see the process in its entirety so they can see how the SHARP program works to take care of people and understand how traumatic the process can be for the victim.
“I think it is important because the victim, after a sexual assault event, goes through several times of re-explaining their story or their experience and what exactly they went through. Sometimes the re-victimization process for the victims is pretty extensive and trying to keep that to a minimum and treating the situation delicately provides for better care of the victim,” Klein said.
Bintz said he would take what he learned today back to his unit.
“It’s an eye-opener, I’ve never been in a victim’s shoes so it is good information to get to see all the steps a victim has to go through and it really opened my eyes on how overwhelming it can be for them. It’s like they said, telling your story about a traumatic experience over and over again can be daunting,” Bintz said.
“I think the main takeaway from the skit was the empathy piece. Having more insight into the whole process a victim has to go through will help how I will approach a trainee. They are already going to have to go through a gauntlet of questions asking them about their story, so I’m not going to make them tell me any more information than I need to be able to get them the help they need,” Bintz added.
Broner said the skit clearly met its intent.
“Leadership got to see the reaction and got to see the condensed version of what the process looks like – they were able to see it, visualize it and clearly see the visceral reactions they were seeing.
“‘Walk a Mile in Their Shoes’ was absolutely effective, it emphasized what was going on with the victim and definitely had an impact on the leadership,” Broner said.
Visit Fort Leonard Wood's SHARP webpage for more information on the program. Fort Leonard Wood’s sexual assault helpline can be reached 24/7 at 573.855.1327 and the Department of Defense helpline can be reached at 877.995.5247.