Teams laced up their tennis shoes before dawn for an event to raise awareness about sexual assault and harassment in the Army April 1.
Although they were vying for a trophy, the SHARP Amazing Race gave participants a better understanding of how they can help prevent sexual assaults.
More than 200 people braved the cold drizzle that morning and completed challenges at staggered heats at various locations on Clay Kaserne, followed by a set of physical challenges. Sprinting from station to station teams tested their knowledge about sexual assault and prevention.
Challenges taught participants about the prevalence of sexual assault—1 in 6, another highlighted the importance of bystander intervention, and another demonstrated how alcohol can impair judgement.
The event was a creative way to teach community members about a serious subject, said Bill Mottley, SHARP program manager.
“The Army has been inundated with SHARP trainings over the last few years,” he said. “This event takes the learning experience outside of a PowerPoint-driven classroom. The SHARP Amazing Race provided participants the opportunity to reinforce their SHARP knowledge without calling it ‘training.’ ”
Capt. Logan McDarment, team captain for the “Bandits” from 66th Military Intelligence Brigade, who won the challenge, said the event promotes a culture of action and trust.
“Knowledge is power and the more people know their options, the history, where they can get help or support, it empowers them and they become less of a target. An offender may not go through with an assault or harassment if they think there is a higher chance of being reported.”
Alternate captain, 2nd Lt. William Moore agreed, adding that the turnout for the event proved the SHARP program is being supported and taken seriously.
“At a minimum, it shows that the SHARP program was able to successfully harness the competitive spirit of Soldiers to get involved with and excited about an event that brings important and difficult issues to the surface in the context of an inter-unit competition.”
And activities like this make a difference because they get people talking, Mottley said.
“The event promotes positive respectful dialogue regarding SHARP. That dialogue will carry back to the work setting. That is where we can make huge strides in empowering Soldiers to act.”
The race, followed by a stand-down in the Tony Bass Theater, kicked off Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
Col. Mary Martin, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden commander, encouraged community members to participate in Denim Day by wearing jeans to work April 1 to raise awareness of sexual violence.
“It shouldn’t matter what you wear,” she said. “Sexual assault is a crime.”
As part of a community engagement program, Soldiers from U.S. Army Europe G1 invited the Wiesbaden Women’s Professional Volleyball Club to participate in the event. Team captain Kim Sala said the team members were thrilled to have the chance to participate.
“Being a professional women’s sports team, the issue of sexual harassment is close to our hearts, and we are happy that we were given the opportunity to be a part of an event that brings people together to raise awareness of this problem.”
The main takeaway from this event is that it takes a community effort to deal with this problem, said Rachel Phillips, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator for the 66th MI Bde.
“The race showed we all have to pull together to ensure we eliminate harassment and assault from our culture and rally around those who need us,” she said. “This event reinforced that victims are surrounded by a community of people who want to help but sometimes do not know how or what to do.
“If we can teach people how to properly intervene before these crimes occur, then we can move towards a culture of change when these behaviors are not tolerated.”
For more information about SHARP and SAAPM, go to www.sexualassault.army.mil.