Sharp Training And How It Fails The Army

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The Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) training and education is not only a waste of time, but failing the army. Soldiers go through SHARP training a minimum of once a year. Constant training may seem like a good idea, but soldiers grow tired of these types of training. Soldiers are required to sit through a dreadful, not well-presented, PowerPoint presentation. Often soldiers will refer to these types of training as “Death by PowerPoint”. The training focuses on encouraging soldiers to report any situation but not much on what to do if soldiers face retaliation. This can cause soldiers to lose trust in their chain of command. SHARP programs are simply failing in the army for the fact that it is the same all the time and should become a more interactive training to help build soldier’s trust in their chain of command to prevent any forms of retaliation from happening and doing what is right.

Often, soldiers fear to report any sexual harassment or assault cases due to fear of the retaliation they will receive from other soldiers in their unit. Assailants will go unpunished, and those who were assaulted or harassed, have to continue through their carrier with constant retaliation. This retaliation often goes unpunished. As stated by Stephen Losey in his article, “He was mocked and belittled by at least six senior non-commissioned officers and other soldiers in his platoon.” A soldier faced retaliation from soldiers in his platoon. Not only did he have to face the retaliation, but those who he should have been able to trust to fix the problem, didn’t do anything but retaliate also. So out of fear from retaliation, soldiers now also fear of reporting cases when they should feel safe to report and believe the right thing will be done.

SHARP has failed on training higher ups how to properly investigate, and stop those who retaliate against the accuser, causing soldiers to lose trust in their chain of command. Zachary Cohen states, “The man did not rape or assault her because of his claim during the investigation that he stopped”. He claimed he stopped after she said she did not wish to partake, but he still did initiate and force on her what she did not wish to partake in. If those trusted to investigate give up so easy, why should soldiers trust that if they report it, the right thing would be done?

Soldiers get distracted and lose interest when something becomes immensely repetitive. It is time for the army to do some changes to their traditional “death by PowerPoint” trainings. Times have changed and maybe it is time for the army to change its ways as well. Its current form of training already seems to be failing. Scott Beauchamp writes about a sexual harassment virtual reality game that actually has trainees interact with the game. Higher-ups that have tried the game are quoted in saying they enjoyed the interactive part of the game and claim to have learned a lot more. Maybe this is, and will be, the new way to train soldiers from now on.

To conclude, SHARP training, is an outdated tool in today’s army and is wasting our soldier’s time. SHARP programs should become more interactive and teach leadership how to better handle these types of situations. Soldiers have already lost trust in their leadership. The Army’s SHARP program needs to become a more interactive tool and help soldiers gain trust in their leadership so that they can feel comfortable reporting situations and  

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