Fort Polk Guardian 08-11-2017

Vol. 44, No. 32 Published for the community of Fort Polk, La. Aug. 11, 2017 Guardian Fort Polk Inside the Guardian CRC cdr visits Polk ...... 3 CALLing the best ........ 5 Handling separation ... 6 ‘Sing’ with DFMWR ...... 8 Stay mentally tough ... 9 Keep guard up .......... 12 Weekend weather Today Saturday Sunday 91 91 91 75 50% 30% 40% 75 75 Rain chance Rain chance Rain chance FORT POLK, La. — Representatives from Fort Polk agencies such as Army Community Service, Army Substance Abuse Program, Judge Advo- cate General and Criminal Investigation Division as well as agencies off post gathered for a Sexual Harassment/Assault Response & Prevention program work group Aug. 7 at Fort Polk’s War- rior Community Center. The working group introduced the people on and off post who strive to help victims of sexual assault and abuse, said Neila Lawrence, SHARP program manager. “We need to recognize that there are people outside our lane that we have to interact with. I may need you and you may need me. Building that relationship beforehand allows me to trust that referred victims will be cared for,” she said. “My hope is that this working group will contin- ue to grow and meet at least twice a year so is- sues can be raised and we can work together to fix them.” Yvonne Manning-Smith, outreach coordinator at Oasis — a safe haven for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, located in Lake Charles — said the working group, hosted by SHARP, was a great opportunity to meet other professionals who work to protect those who have been sexu- ally abused and assaulted. “We get to meet everyone and find out re- sources we have available at our fingertips,” said Manning-Smith. “That information is imperative, especially getting to know the points of contact for the services I might need to aid survivors through the healing process.” Courtney Montgomery, June Jenkins Women’s Shelter executive director, DeRidder, said she ap- preciated that everyone at the event was working together to help serve the victims of sexual abuse and assault. Montgomery said when she and her team members head out into the community to attend events like this she tells people about the victims and the help they need. “If you don’t talk about the abuse, sometimes it’s like the community doesn’t think it hap- pens,” she said. “That’s why we try to let people know about the domestic violence in their area.” The road to helping those victims includes be- ing informed. “Often we know that there is a re- source available to us, but not what that resource provides to actually help the women and chil- dren at our facility,” she said. “I think it’s great that everyone at this working group is ready to explain what they can do to help. There are no right or wrong answers, only the opportunity to better meet the needs of those we serve.” Sgt. 1st Class Sean Kazmierski, lead sexual as- sault response coordinator, Headquarters Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk, said this was the first time outside agencies have to visited Fort Polk to discuss the services they pro- vide and how to help support victims. “The working group not only gave us a better understanding of what agencies outside our gates provide, but was also an opportunity for us to explain to them what SHARP does. It helped us to define our roles and find ways to work to- gether to help victims of sexual abuse and as- sault,” he said. What SHARP does is crucial, according to Lawrence. “When you’ve been victimized, you want someone that can guide you through the process of what happens next. That’s really what SHARP is — a guide through the process,” she said. “We are trying to build a network of care. The work- ing group is just one example that there are peo- ple working behind the scenes who care and are actively trying to make things better for the vic- tim.” SHARP working group brings people together By ANGIE THORNE Guardian staff writer Members of various Fort Polk organizations and community agencies take part in a working group hosted by Fort Polk's Sexual Harassment/Assault Response & Prevention program Aug. 7 at theWarrior Community Center. “When you’ve been victimized, you want someone that can guide you through the process of what happens next.” NEILA LAWRENCE SHARP program manager ANGIE THORNE / GUARDIAN