USAREUR hosts SHARP forum

by Sgt. 1st Class Michelle Conrad
7th Civil Support Command Public Affairs

WILLINGEN, Germany — Soldiers and Department of the Army civilians attended the first Sexual Harassment Assault Response and Prevention program forum hosted by U.S. Army Europe with Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute instructors March 6 to 16 here.

More than 30 sexual assault response coordinator SHARP representatives across USAREUR were invited to attend the event. The training provided during the forum is typically given only to equal opportunity advisers.

SHARP program manager Rosalind Dennis, SHARP program specialist Michelle Fonseca and Sgt. 1st Class Daphne Mack, the noncommissioned officer in charge of Soldier and Family Readiness, focused the training on eliminating incidents through intervention, prevention and reporting procedures.

Last year, U.S. Army Europe hosted eight DA sponsored SHARP mobile training team sessions and received feedback from the participants, highlighting a need for additional information on responding to sexual harassment complaints, Dennis said.

As a result, Dennis’ team contacted DEOMI and arranged for additional training addressing sexual harassment complaint procedures.

 “I desire SARC/SHARP representatives to be fully equipped to successfully advise commanders and provide assistance to complainants of military sexual harassment in USAREUR,” Dennis said.

The specialized training focused on understanding communication through the use of a certified mediation program.

Once the SHARP program is fully implemented, the SARC/SHARP representative serves as a mediator or neutral party by aiding complainants in solving disputes at the lowest level, instead of filing a formal complaint. 

If an agreement is reached, then communication lines are opened and the rapport between the two parties is strengthened.

If no agreement is reached, then the issue continues and the complainant may choose to proceed with a formal complaint.

“We are a force multiplier that maximizes mission readiness,” said Alberto Crespo Sr., a DEOMI instructor. “When we know ourselves and our individual biases, we are able to assist in facilitating the issues and concerns of an organization.”

One of the forum attendees, Maj. Eric De La Vega, a 66th Military Intelligence Brigade SARC/SHARP representative stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany, feels USAREUR did a tremendous job by bringing the DEOMI instructors to the forum.

“It’s been a great experience,” De La Vega said. “I think it was
worthwhile to bring information about societal norms and how they affect Soldiers so that they will understand how to find ways to resolve issues.”

Staff Sgt. Rosey Thompson, a company-level SHARP advocate with the 21st Theater Sustainment Command in Kaiserslautern, said she will use her new skills at her every day job.

“I learned that as a SHARP (representative), you have to be more open to the concerns of our complainants,” Thompson said. “I feel this training prepared me to assist complainants in the process to a solution.”