Nearly 2,000 Soldiers, Family Members and civilians participated in a 5K run/walk April 1 to kick off the annual Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month campaign at Fort Drum. (Photos by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)
Fort Drum community members kick off
Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month
Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (April 1, 2019) – April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM), and nearly 2,000 Soldiers, Family Members and civilians participated in a 5K run/walk April 1 to kick off the annual campaign at Fort Drum.
Runners could speak with Sexual Harassment / Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) representatives at the informational booths and sign a SAAPM banner with a personal message to survivors of sexual violence.
“Every April we raise awareness, and we also educate on possible ways to prevent this epidemic that plagues not only our formations but our society around the world,” said 1st Lt. Brenda Messer, 10th Mountain Division SHARP acting program manager.
The kick-off event was open to the entire community, to include representatives from the Fort Drum Family Advocacy Program, the Victims Advocacy Center in Watertown and the local chapter of Team Red, White and Blue.
Maj. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, 10th Mountain Division (LI) and Fort Drum commander, addressed the participants inside Magrath Sports Complex before the run.
Piatt spoke about two Soldiers who had been harassed by the same supervisor while he was a brigade commander. One Soldier had thought this was simply normal behavior in the Army and that she would have to get used to it; the other did not want to be labeled a “troublemaker.”
He challenged everyone to make a difference by taking action against sexual assault.
“When you see something wrong, say something – intervene,” Piatt said. "Protect your buddy, be on belay for your fellow Mountain Soldier.”
This is the 18th anniversary of SAAPM, and the Department of Defense theme for 2019 is “Protecting Our People Protects Our Mission.”
“The theme for this month says it all for us,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jay Hoffman, 10th Mountain Division’s sexual assault response coordinator (SARC). “If we, in the Army, can prevent sexual harassment and sexual assault before it occurs, then that protects our people, which allows us to more effectively perform the mission that our country asks of us.”
Other events scheduled to promote SAAPM includes a Denim Day on April 24, a "Speak Out and Be Heard” Open Mic Night on April 25 and a division SHARP Leaders Forum on April 29. Brigades and organizations are hosting additional events for personnel.
To learn more about the Fort Drum SHARP program, visit https://www.facebook.com/10thMTNDIVSHARP or call (315) 774-2196. The 24/7 SHARP Hotline is (315) 767-6128.