Story and photo by Spc. William Howard
1st Armored Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
The “Raider” Brigade received a new civilian representative for Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Feb. 1, marking a move from military to civilian victim advocates across the 4th Infantry Division.
Darcy Etaugh said she is the first embedded civilian victim advocate in a brigade at Fort Carson.
“I’m excited about being part of the SHARP program, because it didn’t exist when I was (on) active duty,” said Etaugh, an 11-year Air Force veteran.
Etaugh represents a change in the entire 4th Inf. Div., said Staff Sgt. Victor O’Dell, sexual assault response coordinator, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div.
It was recommended the Army employ civilian advocates during the SHARP Summit held June 10-11 at Joint Base Andrews, Md.
“I think we have to go back and rethink the role of the uniformed victim advocate and how we pick that victim advocate,” said Lt. Gen. Howard Bromberg, Army G-1.
Civilian victim advocates are trained professionals who are available 24/7 to provide assistance to victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault.
“We’re getting more phone calls and seeing more people asking questions about what the program offers,” said O’Dell. “It means people are really interested about how SHARP is changing.”
SHARP education is transitioning from PowerPoint-driven classrooms to small-group forums that allow Soldiers to interact on a personal level with their peers.
“Smaller group discussions are going to give a more realistic picture of what’s going on with lower enlisted Soldiers,” said Etaugh.
SHARP launched in September 2008 to create a cultural change in the Army, enhance military readiness, productivity and unit cohesion.
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III emphasized the importance of SHARP training during a town hall at Fort Belvoir, Va., Feb. 3.
“The American people look at us with a different perspective; they demand more from the United States Army Soldier than they do from the average citizen,” said Chandler. “It’s part of what makes us the best Army in the world.”
This year’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month, held in April, features a 5-kilometer run, guest speakers, Denim Day and a chili cook-off.
Call the 24-hour SHARP hotline at 338-9654 for information or assistance.