This best practice was demonstrated during the Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM) Scavenger Hunt. This event started out with a scenario of a Soldier whose needs/situations demanded not only SHARP services, but other programs of services as well. In the scenario, the Soldier who was sexually assaulted not only needed SHARP services, but also required Army Substance Abuse Programs (ASAP), Chaplin Services, Safety Programs, Suicide Prevention, and Family Assistance Programs (FAP). During the Scavenger Hunt, groups were created and each group had to locate various points based on clues given. Once they reached their point, they received an information briefing and training materials from the program. The result, increased awareness and cohesion between SHARP and other disciplines.
Another SHARP best practice is the Subject Matter Expert (SME) “Panel Board.” The SME Board is comprised of several members in and/or around the community, who explain about their role toward the prevention and intervention of sexual assault. Consequently, they open up the floor for questions from the audience. August 2016, the SME panel board for the SHARP Foundation Course hosted by the 108th in Charlotte consisted of the following; Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE), JAG, a Special Victims Council (SVC), Detective from the Sexual Assault Department of the Mecklenburg Police Department, and Criminal Investigation Division (CID). This is a best practice because it incorporates Soldiers, DOD Civilians, and local community officials. Furthermore, it helps inform and establish good public relations between Army and the available community resources/outreach programs.
The ELITE training, which launched spring of 2016, is catered to all commands. It is considered the Army’s best practice to new innovative training. The software is available via the Army MilGaming web portal at https://www.milgaming.mil. The ELITE tool is used to train junior and non-commissioned officers by providing them an animated sexual harassment or assault vignette(s) and practice scenario(s). Each scenario enables them to get a better feel and familiarization with the proper protocol steps of a case. The Army “wanted to get a more standardized practical exercise experience,” said Maj. Greg Pavlichko, Chief of the Army’s Games for Training program at the Combined Arms Center, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Unlike traditional slide show-based training, the ELITE-SHARP CTT game provides command teams with animated scenarios regarding sexual assault and harassment that illustrate both the right way and the wrong way to handle such situations, and then moves into an interactive portion where Commanders meet face-to-face with virtual Soldiers who have been victims of a sexual assault or harassment.
“We hear feedback that using slide shows for training is very ineffective,” said Monique Ferrell, Director of the Army SHARP Program. “This is an avatar-based platform. When a new commander takes command of a unit, by regulation there is a requirement for them to meet with their SHARP professional, their SARC, within the first 30 days. What this tool does, the ELITE-SHARP CTT, facilitates that classroom discussion between the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) and the Commander.”
Lastly, SARC of the Year winner, Sgt. 1st Class Raquel Mendoza currently at Fort Bliss, Texas, discussed some of her best practices at the 2nd Annual Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) Program Improvement Forum (PIF). She primarily discussed the use of social media such as Facebook, Black Planet, Plenty of fish, Meetme, Foursquare, Tinder, etc to promote SHARP awareness. “Using comments or post on social media is an interactive and innovative way to discuss victim blaming, sexual innuendos, harassment, and intervention techniques,” she stated. Furthermore, the younger generation are using Emoji’s as a subtle way to communicate sexual desires/actions in an effort to elude and be discrete about inappropriate/nonconsensual sexual behavior. “Sexual predators have adapted and are updated with the codes that minors are communicating”, she warned. Another one her best practices is the use of apps such as the “Circleof6.” This is just one of the apps that can be used to inform, intervene, and stop a potential sexual assault.
In conclusion, as the Army continues to push SHARP as one of its top priorities, new methods/best practices are continually being sought after. People learn in different ways and we must be flexible in adopting the various approaches to target all while keeping the SHARP program relevant.