Community members shopped free clothing and learned about the Sexual Harassment and Assault Response Program during the annual Look SHARP Clothing Exchange Aug. 18-20 on Hainerberg.
“This is our way to reach the dependents and the spouses of the active duty service members and the civilians because they (dependents and spouses) are not able to attend our SHARP training,” said Sgt. 1st Class Darlene Coleman, 2nd Theater Signal Brigade sexual assault response coordinator. “This is our way to give back and let them know they’re not alone.”
Via the clothing exchange, the SHARP Program wanted to reach the people in the community who don’t always hear the message, said Trish Shepard, victim advocate for the garrison SHARP program.
Another goal was to break down some of the myths about sexual assault.
“What you’re wearing does not equal sexual assault,” she said. “We have on display clothing similar to that of actual victims that have been assaulted, and it’s not the sexy dress or underwear, lingerie; it’s everyday clothing.”
During the first day of the three-day event, over 100 people came and signed in on the list – one of the various COVID-19 precautionary measures taken.
People who came to the exchange expressed their appreciation of the initiative.
“I think it’s great to do something that’s open to the community and good for the environment. You never know what you find,” said Melissa Bitter, a community member who went with her two daughters Daisy and Evelyn. “It’s perfect timing right before school.”
The clothing exchange combined the chance to shop clothes for free with the opportunity to learn about the SHARP program.
Coleman said she hopes that the clothing exchange makes the SHARP program even more approachable for the community. “I hope to break the fear that SHARP is something scary.”