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February 8, 2012
By Walter T. Ham IV. Eighth Army Public Affairs

YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea (Feb. 8, 2012) -- Eighth Army is hosting sexual assault prevention training in South Korea through February.

Conducted by the U.S. Army Sexual Harassment/Assault Prevention and Response Program, or SHARP, mobile training team, the training is being held for sexual assault response coordinators and victim advocates on Camp Hovey, Yongsan Garrison, Camp Humphreys and Camp Walker.

In December 2008, the U.S. Army reorganized the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office into the new SHARP program to focus its efforts on eradicating both sexual assault and sexual harassment from its formations.

Curtis Smith, the lead instructor, said the SHARP program takes an all encompassing approach to preventing sexual assault and harassment.

"The SHARP program currently being trained approaches sexual violence as a whole, meaning that sexual harassment infractions are viewed as possible precursors to sexual assault crimes," said Smith. "Bystander intervention is one of the SHARP program cornerstones, as everyone is not only charged with being able to recognize signs of sexual violence, but also to draw upon their sense of responsibility to act and motivate others in stopping the situation."

Smith said the training encourages a proactive approach to preventing sexual assault and sexual harassment.

"One of the main take aways from the training is that we are brothers and sisters in arms and that sexual harassment and sexual assault are incompatible with our Army Values and Warrior Ethos," said Smith.

1st Lt. Page Packer, the Eighth Army SHARP program manager, said Eighth Army is piloting new techniques and curricula to deal with factors unique to Korea like widely dispersed bases and a large number of junior Soldiers.

SHARP training provides "first responders and [subject matter experts] on the ground to implement prevention techniques," said Packer.

According to Eighth Army Deputy Commanding General Brig Gen. David J. Conboy, the SHARP training is an example of Eighth Army's commitment to preventing sexual assault. Conboy heads the Eighth Army Sexual Assault Prevention Task Force, which was formed in May 2011. The task force is currently evaluating policies, programs and procedures designed to prevent sexual assaults.

"Sexual assault not only causes significant harm to our Soldiers but it also diminishes our cohesiveness and ability to accomplish our important mission," said Conboy. "[Eighth Army Commanding General] Lieutenant General Johnson established the Sexual Assault Prevention Task Force to ensure that Eighth Army is taking a proactive and comprehensive approach to preventing sexual assault."