Dr. Sharon Cooper, chief executive officer of Developmental and Forensic Pediatrics, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, took center stage at Pope Theater March 7, as the keynote speaker during the Sexual Harassment Assault and Rape Prevention, Leader Professional Development event.
Cooper’s stressed that leaders should not only remain vigilant when it comes to victims who come forward, but also should be aware of common offender typology in sexual assaults.
“A sex offender is a sex offender,” said Cooper. “It doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not they are a military sex offender, a civilian sex offender or a chaplain sex offender. We have to understand how they work in order to recognize (them). It helps us to become more objective in assessment of situations.”
Along with being educated on the characteristics of different types of sex offenders, Fort Bragg leaders were also shown clips from the movie “The Invisible War,” which highlights some of the difficulties the military has had when it comes to sexual harassment and rape.
“We have to educate ourselves,” said Cooper. “If we aren’t criminals ourselves and we don’t work in the criminal justice field, then we would be hard pressed to even grasp the nature of the beast. My goal today was to educate these leaders about the natures of potential offenders. “
Fort Bragg leadership left with a lot of information including that while the Navy and Marines have a policy precluding sex offenders from joining their ranks, the Army and Air Force only require that sex offenders register with the provost marshal’s office and local authorities.
“I would say the most important thing is awareness of this problem and how prevalent it is across society not just in the military, but in our civilian sector as well,” said Col. Francisco Decarvalho, XVIII Airborne Corps G-7. “I think what we need to do as leaders is be cognizant that these issues are there and we need to address them.”