POSTED: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - 8:20pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, May 6, 2014 - 8:15am
Fort Bliss, TX (KTSM) — To support President Barack Obama and other Pentagon officials in their fight against sexual assault in the military, the “Rough Riders” of the 402nd Field Artillery Brigade are trampling out sexual harassment and sexual assault.
“Our culture needs to be such that there is zero tolerance for sexual harassment or sexual assault within our formations. Our Soldiers and civilians need to have confidence in us that we take the topic seriously and we will respond appropriately,” said Col. Carolyn Birchfield, commander. “We need to be ‘all in’ and be willing to intervene.”
Brigade sexual assault response coordinator, Sgt. 1st Class Juan Rodriguez, also believes that intervening is key in helping prevent sexual assault.
“I charge everyone to intervene if they see a potential risky situation, regardless of who they are or what their rank or position may be,” Rodriguez said. “By stopping issues at the lowest level, we can keep situations from escalating and becoming an actual sexual harassment or sexual assault.”
While Rodriguez ensures everyone in the brigade understands the importance of preventing sexual assault, he also spreads the message to a wider audience of deploying National Guard and Reserve Soldiers whom the 402nd trains.
As the brigade’s subject matter expert for the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program, Rodriquez ensures the SHARP coordinators for the units are trained and prepared to handle the responsibilities downrange.