By Luciano Vera
Missile Ranger Staff Writer
WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, April 30, 2015 – White Sands Missile Range personnel participated in the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention, SHARP, Got Your Back training at the Post Theater Apr. 22 and 23.
The training was designed differently than your standard PowerPoint presentation.
“We don’t want to present slides and read them verbatim. Our founder got her PHD and one of the things she focused on was humor and education and how to make effective training. Based off feedback we know people learn better when they are enjoying themselves. We want them to engage and not fall asleep. That way they absorb the information and hopefully implement it,” said Judith Lesser, Catharsis Productions Educator.
One of the key and most effective parts of the training according to Jack Reitz, Catharsis Productions Educator, is having the audience participate in making lists of language society uses to describe men and women when it comes to sex.
“In order to fix a problem we need to identify that problem and if we are just going to pretend that’s not the world we live in then we can’t actually fix it. In making the list the audience is identifying some of the issues they see with gender roles in the world. So we break it down.”
The educators went on to say the initial audience reaction at every training session around the country is one of surprise and realizing the SHARP Got Your Back Training is different.
Armando Juarez, Chief of Telemetry Branch Range Operations, was in the audience for the training and says the session will make you think and remember that everyone can get involved in ending sexual assault and harassment.
“The Interaction between the facilitators and audience was spot on and real world. This is the type of language that is used currently. They were candid and beneficial. The best part was you could speak openly without fear of retribution.”
Dr. Cindi Drake, Installation Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, said the majority of the audience provides positive feedback but some are shocked and by the end of the training realize the intent.
“(It’s about) determining when to intervene, what’s right and appropriate. We all intervene in different ways and have different life experiences. (It’s important to) keep in the back of your mind (the fact) that we don’t know who a survivor is or if you work with one. (We must) be mindful that someone you work with could have been a survivor.”
The training is focused on creating a cultural shift in the Army by encouraging everyone to act if they see something and identify different scenarios at work or out in public.
“We frequently have people come up to us afterwards saying they know someone this has happen to or that it happened to them. They thank us for creating an environment that supports survivors. In every room there is probably at least one survivor. We want to make sure they feel safe and supported,” Lesser said.
A key difference between standard SHARP training and Got Your Back is the use of comedy.
“I wanted to present something new and something different instead of the same old power point. We have shortened the training from about 3 hours to about 45 minutes. People are burned out with the traditional way of training,” Drake said. “And headquarters DA sponsored the trainers to come here so it is at no cost to White Sands.”
For more information on SHARP training or programs visit:
Or contact Dr. Cindi Drake, Installation Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, at (575) 635-7627 or the WSMR SHARP 24/7 Hotline at (575) 993-0589.