Senior leaders from Fort Bragg kicked off Sexual Assault Awareness Month Friday, with a first-of-its-kind training experience at the Iron Mike Conference Center.

Fort Bragg SAAPM is an XVIII Airborne Corps-sponsored initiative to bring the entire installation community together to address the commanding general’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention priorities, said Capt. Guy Allsup, XVIII Abn. Corps and Fort Bragg SHARP program manager.

The five priorities are:

Providing services to victims

Protecting the rights of subjects while conducting an investigation

Leadership must stay engaged

Creating positive culture transformation

Having bystanders who understand intervention is not a choice. It’s something we do because of our Army values.

The leadership training, which had an attendance of more than 200, was geared toward senior leaders, brigade-level sexual assault response coordinators and victim advocates, equal opportunity advisors and resiliency trainers.

The event featured a series of interactive skits performed by brigade-level SARCs and VAs in partnership with the Empowered Voices organization; a presentation by Leonard Wheeler of Game on Nation; and an introduction by Lindsay Orchowski of a study being conducted at Fort Bragg about sexual assault.

The event was a means to transform the way sexual harassment and sexual assault are approached, Allsup said. Rather than a typical briefing, the training was interactive, engaging and encouraged audience participation.

It was also an opportunity for leadership to not only receive training, but to be in a room together to discuss the topic with each other.

Having senior leaders attend the training first was an important step, Allsup said. It was an example of leaders leading from the front.

“It shows all the Soldiers that leadership went first, we are showing you we are doing the same training that everyone else is doing,” Allsup said. “It’s a way to show the community that the leadership is stepping into the issue. We are right there from the front.”

To transform the culture surrounding sexual assaults topics, time and resources need to be applied; the people who control the resources and time is the leadership, he said.

“If (leaders) say ‘yup we agree, we need to transform the culture’ then they will supply the time and the resources.”

SAAPM events and activities will continue throughout the remainder of the month.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month events:

April 13 — “Survivor to Thriver, Helping Survivors Find Their Voice” training hosted by Mike Pistorino at the Pope Family Readiness Group Center. Session 1 is from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and Session 2 is 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. RSVP by calling 853-3309. The training contains adult content for those 18 years old and older.

April 14 — SAAPM Motorcycle Ride hosted by Womack Army Medical Center, from 1 to 3 p.m., starting and ending at the Womack Troop Battalion (across from Davis Dental Clinic).

April 19 — “Soldier Social Influences” training at York Theater from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Learn how to overcome negative influences that can lead Soldiers down the wrong path.

April 26 — Denim Day. Wear denim to show support and awareness of SAAPM.

April 26 — “Can I Kiss You?” training at 9:30 a.m. at the FRG Center. The event is open to all 82nd Airborne Division Soldiers and their Family members. The training will count toward annual training.

April 27 and 28 — Leader training at York Theater, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This training will satisfy SHARP and ASAP training requirements.