By Sgt. Jessica A. Parker
4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
Soldiers and leaders of 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, took a stand against sexual assault and harassment June 21 during the first Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention stand down day on Fort Carson.
Following the release of the annual SHARP report for 2012, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, Army chief of staff, issued an order that all units will conduct a SHARP stand down no later than June 25.
“The Army has always been on the forefront of change; the Army is going to a proactive stance instead of a reactive stance,” said Cory Wilson, lead instructor, Army SHARP program. “This program is very productive, and Soldiers do not have to fear being raped or sexually assaulted, because the Army is taking measures against it.”
It is possible that increased numbers could mean increased awareness, said Staff Sgt. Dina Moreno, sexual assault response coordinator, 4th IBCT. Soldiers are learning and realizing that they have the right to stay safe and protected no matter the situation.
“There is no place in this military organization for sexual harassment or sexual assault, it undermines the trust and confidence that Soldiers, civilians and Family members have entrusted us (with) as an organization to protect them,” said Moreno. “The toughest war we are fighting right now on the battlefield is not the one that we see outside or in the news, it’s the one that’s within our ranks with the sexual assault and sexual harassment,”
The goal is to engage and empower lower-ranking Soldiers to take initiative to halt sexual assault and sexual harassment, said Col. Brian Pearl, commander, 4th IBCT, 4th Inf. Div.
“We are a family here, and there’s good and bad things in every family. Every family has to embrace each member of that family,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Danny Day, senior enlisted leader, 4th IBCT. “We have a good family; we ask you to take ownership of this and take care of your family.”
Replacing battalion-level safety brief formations with more personal platoon and squad-level briefings, puts the responsibility back into the hands of the squad and team leaders, Pearl said during a discussion with the senior leadership of the brigade during the SHARP stand down. These first-line supervisors know their Soldiers, and can be the first line of defense against sexual harassment and sexual assault incidents.
“Its about the environment, it’s about trust, and it’s about empowering our junior leaders,” said Pearl.