Soldiers Tell Own Stories of Struggle and Recovery for ARD Webinar

By Mavia HansonJune 23, 2023

The Army Resilience Directorate’s April webinar, SHARP Transformation: A Victim-Centric Perspective, featured a conversation with Jill Londagin, Director of the Sexual Harassment/ Assault Response and Prevention program; Capt. Lori Mathieu; and Sgt. First Class Chatonna Spicer. During the 90-minute fireside chat, they shared their own stories of experiencing sexual assault as well as the ways in which they choose to advocate now.

Through their accounts, they shared raw perspectives about grooming behavior for sexual assault and harassment and the ways they reported these crimes and how they would recommend reporting them. They discussed current Army SHARP policy and preventive measures that Soldiers and Army Civilians can take. “I think it’s important for our people to know they aren’t alone and that there are people out here to help you and want to care for you,” Londagin said.

At the end of the fireside chat, the presenters took audience questions, which were candid and thought-provoking.

For our May webinar, Command Sgt. Maj. Justin Shad covered the topic of substance misuse. Shad shared his personal account of alcoholism and his road to recovery. He talked about his history with alcohol, when he was able to acknowledge he had a problem and the stigma attached to getting help as a senior leader while deciding to reveal his struggle publicly. He explained how other leaders and battle buddies can potentially spot Soldiers or comrades struggling and how to go about helping them.

He talked about what his home life was like and how his illness affected his family. He even went into detail about what the other side of recovery looked like and how prescription medications helped with his cravings once he became sober. He closed his talk by answering audience members’ questions about his journey and how other Soldiers can offer assistance and resources to their battle buddies.

If you or someone you know is seeking help with a SHARP-related issue, the DOD Safe Helpline is available 24/7 via phone, online chat or discussion here.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance misuse, locate your nearest Army Substance Abuse Program here, or call 800- 273-TALK (8255) if you are in a crisis situation.

To find more of ARD’s recorded webinars and to register to participate in future installments, visit our website here.