Maj. Gen. Donna Martin, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, hosted the 2018 Sexual Harassment and Assault Prevention Summit Oct. 18 in Lincoln Hall Auditorium.
Martin said the vision for this year’s SHARP Summit began months ago, adding that a lot of hard work went into organizing the event.
“The mission of the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence is to develop competent leaders and warriors of character,” she said. “It’s forums like this that focus on sexual harassment and sexual assault that are critical to achieving mission success. Overall, we are here today because we want to continue to make our installation and our Army a better place for everyone.”
Guest speaker for the event, retired Maj. Gen. Robert Shadley, is credited with uncovering a sex scandal at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, where he was serving as the commanding general in 1996.
Martin said she fully agrees with a statement found in Shadley’s book regarding the scandal which reads, “The prevention of sexual harassment and sexual felonies in the military is for every Soldier and civilian regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, religion or rank.”
She continued, “We must hold ourselves to a very high standard, live the Army Values and police each other to reach the ultimate goal or the ultimate objective of no more sexual assault or harassment in our formations. While the ultimate goal is to prevent and eliminate this kind of behavior, when incidents do arise we must be sure we respond correctly. As leaders we must take every allegation seriously, sense and predict troublesome behavior and situations and then have the courage to act.”
According to Shadley, the challenges faced by the military are the same throughout society.
“Ninety-nine percent of our Army is good, hard working, dedicated people making this country great so all of us can enjoy our society, families and everyday life,” Shadley said. “It’s just that 1 percent causing all this damage to individuals and to our Army as an organization.”
He added, although the military must work harder on the prevention of sexual assault and harassment, there is no group working harder to ensure combat readiness than SHARP teams.
Martin said it’s imperative that leaders continue to encourage reporting.
“Our Fort Leonard Wood team has done a remarkable job with (its) response to victims and I thank you all for your effort, so let’s ensure we keep up the great work,” she said.