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NEWS | Feb. 28, 2017

Let’s talk SHARP: A conversation with AMEDDC&S leaders

By Brenda Clark and Jose Rodriguez U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School

At the most recent U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School NCO Professional Development at Blesse Auditorium at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston Feb. 22, Maj. Felicia Williams, AMEDDC&S victim advocate, hosted a panel from AMEDDC&S and JBSA to discuss the Army Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention, or SHARP, program.

Titled “Let’s Talk, A Conversation with Leaders” the panel was an opportunity for NCOs to talk with sexual assault response coordinators (SARC), victim advocates (VA), JBSA special victims counselors and members of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division.

Command Sgt. Maj. Aaron Stone, 187th Medical Battalion, shared his personal story of sexual assault by a teacher. For 17 years, Stone lived with the abuse, keeping it hidden from those around him.

While driving one day, the memory of the incident flooded Stone and he decided to report the abuse. Because of his report, Stone’s abuser was later convicted for the sexual assault and sentenced to prison. Stone’s personal story visibly moved his fellow Soldiers and afterwards, many thanked him for the courage to speak about his personal account.

The mission of the Army SHARP program is eliminating sexual assault within the Army through cultural change, prevention, intervention, investigation, accountability, advocacy/response, assessment and training to sustain the all-volunteer force.

SARCs and VAs receive training at the Headquarters Department of the Army SHARP Academy at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and are credentialed through the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Advocate Certification Program. SARCs and VAs assist Soldiers and their adult family members and Army civilians with sexual assault reports, providing a 24/7 response capability. They also support commanders with prevention, training and awareness efforts.

If you, or anyone you know, is the victim of sexual assault, report it. Contact a SARC, VA or call the JBSA Sexual Assault hotline at 808-7272.