22 April 2015

George Zerante, Kristen Pickering, educators with Catharsis Productions and Maj. Gen. Brian C. Lein, commanding general U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command and Fort Detrick, during an April 15 presentation on Sexual Assault and Harassment Prevention at the Community Activities Center. Lein said that while it's an uncomfortable topic, "It has to be discussed so that we can make a cultural shift in how we view these issues, not only to reduce the number of incidents but to discuss ways to solve the problem." (Photo by Jenni Benson, USAG PAO)
Sexual Assault Awareness Prevention Month Kickoff
By Nick Minecci, USAG Public Affairs

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Prevention Month, and on April 6 leaders and members of the Fort Detrick community gathered at the Fort Detrick Auditorium for the Fort Detrick 2015 Sexual Awareness Month Prevention Month kickoff event. SAAM’s purpose is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities on how to prevent it. The theme of the 2015 campaign is, “Eliminate Sexual Assault: Know Your Part. Do Your Part.”

During the event, Maj. Gen. Brian C. Lein, commanding general of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command and Fort Detrick challenged attendees to do everything they could to eradicate sexual assault throughout the military.

“I take this very serious, and so should all of you. There is no place in the Army, in the military or anywhere, for these actions, and I challenge all of you to help put an end to this problem,” said Lein.

Guest speaker for the kickoff was Dr. Donna D. Ferguson, deputy division chief, Behavioral Sciences Education and Training Division, U.S. Army Military Police School at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Ferguson, a native of Thomasville, Alabama, has served in uniform for more than a quarter of a century, as a military police officer and civilian, and has had a variety of duties during her service.

Ferguson served as a trainer for the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Response Coordinator Training Team, been a primary trainer on the Department of the Army Sexual Assault Unit Victim Advocate Training Team, a trainer for Waynesville R-IV school District regarding effects of family violence on children and an advisor to Waynesville R-IV school district on juvenile and gang violence among numerous other positions.

During her talk, Ferguson discussed several things people can do to help improve education and do their part to eliminate sexual assault. Recommendations included:

  • Eliminate Sexual Assault: every person working for the DOD at every level in the military, must know, understand and adhere to service values and standards of behavior to eliminate sexual assault, and other inappropriate behavior.
  • Know Your Part: each member of the DOD community has a unique role in preventing and responding to sexual assault. Everyone must recognize their part in stopping this crime starting with our own awareness and knowing when and where to intervene.
  • Do Your Part: Individuals have to act. If you see a crime or inappropriate behavior unfolding, you need to step in to prevent it. You each need to add our voice to the call to end this crime.
“What this comes down to is a real change in the culture,” said Ferguson.

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