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SHARP, WOCC team to battle sexual assault

Volunteers with the Fort Rucker and U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence SHARP Team provide free car washes during the SHARP car wash last year. This year’s car wash will be held April 23 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Shamrock Street. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Volunteers with the Fort Rucker and U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence SHARP Team provide free car washes during the SHARP car wash last year. This year’s car wash will be held April 23 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Shamrock Street. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Published: April 21, 2016

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (April 21, 2016) -- Fort Rucker’s Sexual Harassment and Abuse Response and Prevention team and the U.S. Army Warrant Officer Career College officials hope that a partnership to battle sexual harassment and assault will bolster efforts to empower the community through information and education.

As part of an awareness campaign, SHARP officials are partnering with the USAWOCC to hold a car wash April 23 on Shamrock Street from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. where people are encouraged to meet the SHARP team, receive information on prevention, and increase their awareness of sexual harassment and assault while having their car washed for free, according to Twanna Johnson, garrison sexual assault response coordinator.

“This is one way for us to give back to our community, and this is a service that many people welcome and a friendly way to connect with the Fort Rucker community,” she said.

“The SHARP Car Wash is something that USAACE and the garrison conduct annually in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month during the month of April,” added CW3 Christopher Sanders, 1st Warrant Officer Company training, advising and counseling officer, adding that the current warrant officer candidates have adopted teal as the official color of their class. “The class has adopted the color and focus of the Army SHARP program, as well as its intent to reduce and prevent sexual harassment and assault. The involvement of the Teal Class illustrates that SHARP is an important program that we, as leaders, need to utilize at any and every opportunity to prevent any occurrence.”

Johnson said the main goal of the event is to build trust within the community, strengthen awareness, and provide tools to aid in prevention of sexual assault and sexual harassment.

“The more awareness the community has of the SHARP program and of our team, the more confidence they have in us and the Army’s commitment,” she said. “Increased confidence means people are more likely to report incidents of sexual harassment and assault.”

As one of the SHARP advisers for 1st WOC, Sanders said he’s charged with elevating awareness on sexual assault and harassment, and any way he’s able to bring that awareness to the forefront is a priority.

“We are charged with creating the next generation of warrant officers,” he said. “What better way to bridge the gap between what the Army wants for the program and how they want their leaders to get involved?  This idea paved the way for the first-ever Teal Class.”

The car wash is also a learning experience for both the SHARP team and the USAWOCC on how to better educate community members on the importance of the program, said the sexual response coordinator.

“The SHARP program reinforces the Army’s commitment to eliminate incidents of sexual assault and sexual harassment through a comprehensive policy on awareness and prevention, and to create a cultural change,” she said. “Every Soldier, family member and civilian has a right to work and live in an environment free from sexual assault and sexual harassment.”

Johnson said there are ways community members can be involved, as well, by becoming active bystanders and being aware of their surroundings.

“Ask yourself, ‘Does someone need help?’” she said. “Be part of the solution. Take action, but be sure to keep yourself safe. Call military police, local law enforcement, tell a co-worker or supervisor. Educate yourself on what to do.”

People are welcome to stop by the garrison SHARP office located at The Commons, Bldg. 8950, to ask questions or provide feedback, which Johnson said is highly valued by the team.

The Fort Rucker SHARP team members are Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Blackman, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence lead SARC; Johnson; Kimberly Price, garrison SHARP victim advocate; Sgt. 1st Class Robin Williams, 110th Aviation Brigade SARC; Holli Miller, 110th Avn. Bde. SHARP victim advocate; Sgt. 1st Class Margaret Antonio, 1st Avn. Bde. SARC; Ernestine Doby, 1st Avn. Bde. victim advocate; Master Sgt. Anthony Lewis, Air Traffic Services Command and 164th Theater Airfield Operations Group SARC; and Staff Sgt. Adam Trypuc, ATSCOM and 164th TAOG SHARP victim advocate.

For more information on SHARP at Fort Rucker, call 255-2382.

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