FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Jan. 29, 2021) — This month, the 3rd Chemical Brigade added scenarios and vignettes to its Sexual Harassment and Assault Response Prevention training to ensure Soldiers and trainees understand the program’s policies and procedures.
This approach gives participants real-life scenarios to aid in understanding how one lapse in concentration can cause a lifetime of problems, said 1st Lt. Roslyn Thomas, one of the brigade’s sexual assault response coordinators.
“We wanted to reinforce and re-engage to make sure everyone understands,” she said. “We wanted to bring awareness (that) something Soldiers might think is fun and games — (an action) that seems small — can get you labeled as a sex offender.”
The concept was brought to Fort Leonard Wood from Korea by Col. Adam Hilburgh, 3rd Chemical Brigade commander.
“They have something like this there and I decided to implement it here,” he said.
Hilburgh said the scenarios and vignettes augment training every Soldier and trainee already receives by providing more of a “collegiate environment.”
“It gives everyone a chance to have a discussion and reinforces the standards,” he said. “From the trainee, to the drill sergeant, all the way up to the battalion level, I treat this as a high-risk event. I expect battalion leadership, company leadership to be here and our victim advocates to lead the training.”
The brigade’s scenarios involve a room that includes four bunk beds and lockers to add realism.
“The room is set up just like they would be in the barracks,” Thomas said. “The company victim advocates are role-players and act out the scenes. From there, they go over each scenario. They show everyone that the reporting process is not scary; the drill sergeants talk to the trainees on a personal level, letting them know the seriousness of the situation and how they can come to them for help.”
Thomas said the additional training helps build trust in the brigade’s SHARP program.
“It makes the program better because the (reporting) process can be visualized better than before, when it was just (a slideshow),” she said. “Having a better understanding of SHARP and incident reporting is something every Soldier can use throughout their whole Army career.”
One of the first trainees to attend the training here, Pvt. Simone Short, said it broadened her perspective on how seriously the Army takes SHARP.
“It really showed me how something that’s no big deal for one person can be huge for another person,” she said. “They’re doing a great job educating us on sexual assault and sexual harassment. We’ve been here two weeks and we’ve had so many briefings already — the Army takes this really seriously.”
The open forum for questions was especially helpful, said Spc. Alexander Prince, who attended the training alongside Short on Jan. 14.
“Allowing us to ask questions ensures each person understands the policies, from left to right, front to back,” he said.
Prince said he thinks the visual elements of this training style are effective for those who don’t always learn best with words alone.
“Having these different components helps,” he said.
One of the brigade victim advocates providing the training, Sgt. 1st Class Latia Rondeau, said making a difference “starts with one person.”
“We don’t expect the sexual assault and sexual harassment problem to just go away overnight,” she said. “This is something that takes time, but as long as we continue to take charge, keep trying to make the SHARP program better, the numbers will go down. The biggest thing is people are afraid to speak up and correct somebody, but we have to have those people to intervene. We need to remember that this can happen to anyone, and that anyone can do something about it. If you see something, say something — get involved in the process.”
About Fort Leonard Wood
Fort Leonard Wood is a thriving and prosperous installation that has evolved from a small basic training post more than 75 years ago to a premier Army Center of Excellence that trains more than 80,000 military and civilians each year.
Fort Leonard Wood is home to the U.S Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and three U.S. Army schools: the U.S. Army Engineer School; U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School; and the U.S. Army Military Police School. In addition to training engineer, CBRN and military police specialties for the Army, Fort Leonard Wood also provides gender-integrated in-processing and Basic Combat Training for new Soldiers.
Fort Leonard Wood also hosts and trains with the largest Marine Corps Detachment and Air Force Squadron on any Army installation as well as a large Navy construction detachment.
More information about Fort Leonard Wood is at: https://home.army.mil/wood/index.php/about/mission