USAMRMC Hosts Supplemental SHARP Training
The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command's Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Program held a supplemental training for sexual assault response coordinators, victim advocates and victim representatives Sept. 18 at Fort Detrick.
Maj. Gen. Barbara R. Holcomb, commanding general of the USAMRMC and Fort Detrick, said that she appreciated the work that each of the advocates, coordinators and representatives did for the program. She also mentioned the importance of their role in the healing process for victims.
"I hope you each know how important you are to the Army and to those who are suffering," said Holcomb. "Their healing begins when you show up for them.
"Their healing continues when you apply your training," added Holcomb.
Participants earned seven continuing education units for the all-day sexual assault response coordinator and victim advocate training. SARCs, VAs and VRs must complete 32 CEUs every two years for re-certification through the Department of Defense's Sexual Assault Advocate Certification Program. Of the required CEUs, individuals must have two CEUs in ethics and 30 CEUs in prevention and advocacy courses relevant to their roles to recertify.
Mark Minter, program manager, SHARP, said they try to hold trainings for SARCs, VAs and VRs semi-annually as an alternative way for individuals to earn the required CEUs for recertification.
Representatives from Hood College, Frederick City Police Department, Frederick County Sheriff's Office, and Heartly House, Inc., briefed participants about their missions and programs. They informed attendees of the volunteer opportunities that are available with their organizations too.
Some of the areas of discussion included Title IX, victim services, human trafficking and major crimes. They also discussed the challenges, lessons learned and insight gained from their experiences with victim advocacy, gender equity and discrimination.
"It's always a lose-lose; every time you have one of these," said Carol Wuenschel, Title IX and Section 504 coordinator, Hood College, when it comes to evaluating, investigating and resolving complaints arising from sex discrimination.
Wuenschel added that it's also a loss for the organization dealing with the reported incident. She also said they're constantly learning from the incidents and trying to do the right thing for all of those involved.
Some of the speakers even shared stories about how they got involved with victim advocacy.
"I did not want to work sex crimes, but I got involved after working with the child advocacy center," said Doug Ames, detective, Frederick City Police Department.
Ames said he changed his mind after seeing how well the child advocates treated the children involved in a case he worked on with the center.
In hindsight, Ames said the assignment helped him to deal with abuse he suffered in the past. As a child, Ames said he and his twin brother were molested by their stepfather. He said his mother didn't leave his stepfather because she didn't want to be alone. Ames added that it took him a long time to forgive his stepfather and deal with what happened.
During each of the briefings, participants had the opportunity to share some of their experiences, ask questions and give feedback. Each participant also received a certificate and gift bag that contained SHARP and DOD Safe Helpline giveaways.
"Continue to be that person who stands up for those who are unable to stand up for themselves," said Holcomb. "Help them to be heard, help them to heal and help them to find hope."
For more information about Fort Detrick's SHARP program, contact Minter at (301) 619-7387 or Mark.B.Minter.firstname.lastname@example.org. For support after a sexual assault, you can call the DOD Safe Helpline, which is a 24-hour hotline, at (877) 995-5247, go to its Website at www.safehelpline.org or download the app to chat one-on-one with a trained staff member.