By Staff Sgt. Craig Cantrell
4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office
Soldiers are being trained as Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention representatives to provide commanders, fellow Soldiers and civilians with a “one-stop” shop for victims of sexual assault.
The Fort Carson Equal Opportunity and SHARP offices training, which began Jan. 23, enables Soldiers and commanders to transition seamlessly from Sexual Assault Prevention and Response to SHARP, which ensures victims and complainants receive the appropriate level of care in a manner consistent with current All Army Activities messages and directives, said Lt. Col. David Cushen, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson EO/SHARP program manager.
In 2004, then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ordered a review of the Department of Defense policies and procedures for the care of victims of sexual assault.
The review found that existing policies and programs aimed at preventing sexual assault were inconsistent and incomplete.
The Army has since incorporated the sexual harassment portion of the EO program and made it a part of the SHARP program, combining sexual harassment and sexual assault reporting and recording into one program.
“SHARP is a blended program, taking the Prevention of Sexual Harassment aspects from the EO Program and the Sexual Assault Response Program,” said Lt. Col. Cynthia Shue, Fort Carson SHARP project manager. “SHARP combines the best of both of these programs to make a one-stop shop for commanders to address sexual harassment, which is seen as a precursor to sexual assaults.”
The Department of the Army directed all units to achieve 100 percent SHARP trained personnel by Sept. 30, according to ALARACT 07/2012, published Jan. 12.
“The Department of the Army is revamping the way we deal with sexual harassment and sexual assault,” said Master Sgt. Jose Colon, 4th Infantry Division sexual assault response coordinator and SHARP representative. “We want Fort Carson to be at the forefront of the fight.”
The Fort Carson EO/SHARP office organized five two-week courses from January-September for Mountain Post Soldiers to conduct SHARP training to meet the Army’s intent.
Each SHARP mobile training team consists of two government contracted instructors who train up to 50 SHARP representatives at a time, explained Cushen.
“This program gets SHARP representatives familiar on how to deal with sexual assault victims and provides them with all the available resources they have to give to the victims, so they’re taken care of medically or mentally,” said Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Bardo, SHARP representative, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div.
SHARP seeks to change cultural norms about what is acceptable through training, education and applying the basic principles of teamwork, explained Cushen.
“The Army needs a program like SHARP because there are human beings in this world, in and out of our military formations, who are either unwilling or incapable of exercising the necessary self-control and decision making necessary to treat others with value and worth,” said Cushen.
Contact Cushen at 526-9468 for more information on the Fort Carson EO/SHARP program.
To report an incident of sexual assault, contact the 24/7 Fort Carson victim advocate response pager at 719-577-3171, or Army Community Service at 526-4590 during duty hours.