Building cohesive teams during Sexual Assault Awareness, Prevention Month

MEDCoE AIT Soldiers line up in formation at Kelly Field, San Antonio before boarding a contract airplane that will take them to their first duty assignment. Photo by Jose Rodriguez

National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month is observed each year during the month of April to raise awareness and educate communities on the prevention of sexual assault.

This year’s theme is “Building Cohesive Teams through Character, Trust and Resilience. Protecting Our People Protects Our Mission.”

“Once you have strength in the structure, your people and their mission are protected,” said Florence Hare, a Nurse Practitioner and Sexual Assault Medical Director/Program Manager at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. “The Sexual Assault Response Teams build strong foundations within our military and civilian communities. The trust that is then placed in them by our service members and civilians allows all their work, their mission, to be accomplished.”

Sexual Assault Awareness Month began in 2001 when the National Sexual Violence Resource Center coordinated the first formally recognized Sexual Assault Awareness Month campaign. It wasn’t until 2009 when President Barack Obama made the first official proclamation that April was Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

“SAAPM reminds everyone about the importance of prevention, intervention, and recognition of sexual assault in order to not only care for a victim, but more importantly to remove the threat from the ranks and prevent sexual assault from occurring,” said Hare.

The Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program’s primary mission is to enhance Army readiness through the prevention of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and associated retaliatory behaviors while providing comprehensive response capabilities.

“The most important part for me is the work we do with victims and their supporters,” said Julia Armstrong, the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Program Manager for Regional Health Command Europe. “It is important to build relationships with the other professionals who assist victims and to work closely as the Sexual Assault Response Team. This team develops a holistic support plan to assist victims throughout the entire process and is built on the needs of the individual we are helping.”

If you have been a victim of sexual harassment or sexual assault, you can visit for help and resources. Across the European Theater of Operations, contact a SHARP Professional via the SHARP 24/7 Helpline 53-SHARP (DSN: 537-4277) or from off post/civilian number +49 (0) 611-143-537-4277.