9th MSC pledges to ‘Take a STAND!’

| April 24, 2015 | 0 Comments
Capt. Mary Kennedy and Capt. Debbie Eddin, 9th MSC, tie a teal ribbon to a palm tree along the Army Reserve parade field during the SAAPM observance, April 11.

Capt. Mary Kennedy and Capt. Debbie Eddin, 9th MSC, tie a teal ribbon to a palm tree along the Army Reserve parade field during the SAAPM observance, April 11.

Story and photos by Capt. Liana Kim
9th Mission Support Command Public Affairs

FORT SHAFTER — Though the day was stormy and gray, the message was clear.

Faces were bright with hope and resolve, and stately palm trees were decked out in royal turquoise bows.

In recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, several dozen Army Reserve Soldiers gathered on the parade field, here, with Brig. Gen. John Cardwell and Command Sgt. Maj. David Yamamoto, 9th Mission Support Command team, to Take a STAND! – to be an active part in raising awareness, restoring dignity and protecting fellow defenders, April 11.

“Sexual assault is an insider terrorist threat that we need to abolish from our Army family,” Cardwell said, holding high a card of staggering statistics that indicates a persistent epidemic to which the military is not immune.

Every two minutes, a person in the United States is sexually assaulted. More than half of those assaults go unreported.

About 44 percent of victims are under 18, many of whom know their attacker.

It is estimated that one in six women and one in 33 men in America will have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.

“Most of these harmful events have at least one witness. We must have the personal courage to watch out for each other, talk with those we feel are in danger, talk with their friends, peers and sometimes their superiors to stop this devastating kind of activity,” Yamamoto said.

“Soldiers taking an active role and helping to change the culture is critical to ending sexual assault and harassment,” said Sylvia Moreno, 9th MSC SHARP program manager and Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, and event organizer. “We held today’s event especially for our Army Reserve Soldiers, so they could take part during their monthly battle assembly.”

Attendees hanged large teal ribbons to the palm tree lining the parade field to remind passersby of a silent, yet very real, threat. Moreno said the physical act of tying a ribbon helps those involved make the mental and emotional connection that they have a responsibility to know and do their part to eliminate sexual assault.

“These statistics aren’t just numbers; they represent people – men and women, our brothers and sisters – who are negatively impacted by these unthinkable acts,” Moreno said of the fact card stickers the Soldiers were asked to read and place on the ribbons.

“We need you to Take a STAND! – not only today and throughout the month of April, but every day throughout the year,” Cardwell said.

He and his battle buddy Yamamoto hung the first teal ribbon on a nearby tree. Teal is the designated color to represent Sexual Assault Awareness.

“It is my hope that the Soldiers who volunteered to place the ribbons and who took a pledge will go back to their units and spread the message that sexual assault will not be tolerated in our Army,” Moreno said. “I pray that this message will echo through the ranks and prevent these terrible acts from ever occurring.”

To pledge their intent to take action, Soldiers signed their names on a large cloth banner, and pinned small teal ribbons to their uniforms to help spread awareness of the importance of being vigilant and looking out for one another. The ribbons are authorized for wear on the Army Combat Uniform during April.

The banner will be displayed on the Army Reserve campus with a quilt that Lt. Col. Paula Iannello, 9th MSC policy and program officer, volunteered to make, complete with the SHARP logo.

“This was our second event. The first was held during the week for our full-time staff. Our guest speaker was a military family member and sexual assault survivor,” Moreno said. “The commander signed an official proclamation, and we cut a cake to celebrate our proactive approach to improving our military culture.”

Moreno said 9th MSC events are among many conducted across the globe this month. The Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground near Baltimore, Maryland, held a panel discussion and a ribbon-cutting ceremony for their new SHARP Resource Center, one of 12 pilot centers the Army is opening on its installations around the world, April 14.

U.S. Army Hawaii’s SHARP Resource Center is located on Schofield Barracks, across from the U.S. Army Health Clinic.

Observed annually in April, SAAM is a national campaign to raise public awareness about sexual assault and educate communities on how to prevent sexual violence. The campaign’s theme, slogan, resources and materials are coordinated by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center with assistance from anti-sexual assault organizations throughout the United States.

Each year, millions around the world strive to highlight sexual violence as a public health, human rights and social justice issue. Numerous state, territory, tribal and community-based organizations, rape crisis centers, government agencies, businesses, campuses and individuals hold events and activities to reinforce the need for prevention efforts.

Command Sgt. Maj. David Yamamoto (left), 9th MSC,  shares thoughts on the importance of personal courage to stand up for what is right, being aware and proactive, and looking out for one another, during a SAAPM observance.

Command Sgt. Maj. David Yamamoto (left), 9th MSC, shares thoughts on the importance of personal courage to stand up for what is right, being aware and proactive, and looking out for one another, during a SAAPM observance.

“Our mind is the best tool we have. We just have to exercise the mettle to ask, to investigate,” said Yamamoto. “Leaders, we must pay more attention to our Soldiers, and be flexible in our communication. Be open to changes in your environment and use any means of communication that resonates the most with your Soldiers.”

9th MSC SHARP

For information or to get involved and support the 9th MSC SHARP program and events, call the 9th MSC SHARP program manager and SARC at 438-1600, ext. 3372.

 

USARHAW SHARP

The U.S. Army-Hawaii SHARP Resource Center is at 3585 McCornack Road, Schofield Barracks, Bldg. 692.

Call the SHARP hotline at 655-9474.

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Category: News, SHARP

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