Events

September 20, 2012

Sexual assault prevention campaign on Fort Irwin kicked-off with “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event

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Gustavo Bahena
Public Affairs Office, NTC and Fort Irwin

A group of men from the National Training Center and Fort Irwin wore women’s shoes for the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event that kicked-off the “No Excuse” campaign to combat sexual assault, Sept. 15.

There is “No Excuse” for perpetuating a sexual assault. There is “No Excuse” for not intervening. There is “No Excuse” for not reporting a sexual assault in progress.

And there is “No Excuse” not to report that you have been a victim.

The slogan “No Excuse” refers to the campaign at the National Training Center and Fort Irwin to prevent sexual assault. And to get the campaign “off the ground” dozens of men serving in, or supporting the Army, here, stomped the pavement while wearing women’s shoes, Sept. 15.

Command Sgt. Maj. James R. Higgins, command sergeant major for 916th Support Brigade, got some assistance from wife, Denise, before the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event, which saw dozens of guys walk in women’s shoes, Sept .15. The event supported the National Training Center and Fort Irwin “No Excuse” campaign against sexual assault.

Those guys “were man enough” to participate in the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event that Saturday morning. Many brought their Families; many were single Soldiers; some ran the distance in high heels. All came out for the same reason.

“If your wear combat boots, if you wear high heels, it doesn’t matter to me,” said Brig. Gen. Terry Ferrell, commander of the NTC and Fort Irwin, to the crowd that morning. “What matters is that we’re unified as we go forth to have no excuses at Fort Irwin and to have no excuses in our Army.”

The SHARP program (Sexual Harassment Assault Response and Prevention) reinforces the Army’s commitment to eliminate incidents of sexual harassment and sexual assault through a comprehensive policy that centers on awareness and prevention, training and education, victim advocacy, response, reporting, and accountability.

Ferrell spoke about the individual Soldier’s responsibilities and about resources connected to the campaign.

“We protect our own,” Ferrell said. “Protection is simply taking care of one another. Looking out for your buddies. Looking out for your friends. Looking out for those that you don’t even know, but seeing something that’s not right. And if something should happen, talk about it, go find somebody and tell them. And that’s what the SHARP campaign is. There are victim advocates, there are SHARP coordinators, and there are chains of command in place now to help facilitate that program.”

Fort Irwin United States Army Garrison Commander Col. Kurt Pinkerton emphasized that the campaign is more than a monthly observance. He stressed that Soldiers live to a higher standard and that the values they follow, not only keep them safe in combat, but should also provide a safe setting back home.

“It’s about a daily living of the Army values,” Pinkerton said. “It’s about living the Army Values and kind of re-grounding ourselves in basic discipline.”

The “No Excuse” slogan was recommended by 1st Lt. Nicole Myers, with 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. Pinkerton has created a link on the Garrison website that provides information about the campaign. Additional information on the site relates to: Reducing violence; increasing awareness; reporting assaults, and; helping educate others. The phone number listed on the site, (760) 401-3074, is a reporting hotline that can be used anytime.

“If you’re sexually assaulted we want you to report it, so we can take care of it,” Pinkerton stated. “We can help you, we can resolve the situation. You should not have to live in fear when serving in the military and that’s what ‘No Excuse’ is all about.”




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