By Matthew Langston
Leader’s Training Course
As Cadets laughed at a skit portraying a man buying drinks and trying to talk to a girl at a bar, the message conveyed was clear: Sexual harassment is wrong, and there is something you can do to stop it.
The program “Sex Signals” was presented to the Cadets of Bravo Company last week at Olive Theater as part of the Leader’s Training Course curriculum. The show, put on for all LTC companies during the Soldier First phase, was staged by Chris Beier and Mandy Moore, both with Catharsis Productions, a company that educates others about issues such as sexual assault and rape through non-traditional methods such as comedy and improvisation. Catharsis Productions is the creator of the educational piece performed for colleges and multiple military branches.
As the military has seen a rise in sexual assaults in recently, the Army is trying to combat the problem in part with educational training presented to Cadets involving serious topics. “Sex Signals” teaches the fundamentals of how to spot sexual harassment and assault and how to jump in and stop it, all surrounded by a comical mixture of skits and improvisation. Beier said the messages are beneficial because it’s a people issue, and not just one that applies to the military.
“It’s important to be able to step in when you see sketchy things going down in public,” Beier said. “To protect your fellow Soldiers or just your fellow people.”
Beier said the program is designed to show the importance of asking for consent, supporting victims of sexual assault and also giving situations where harassment is taking place and what they can do to step in and stop it.
“If they could take one thing away from the show, it would be to just make sure the people you want to have sex with absolutely want to have sex with you back,” Beier said.
Cadet Lynette Long, a student at Elizabeth City State University in Elizabeth City, N.C., said she enjoyed the show and that it is important to receive the training so she will know what to do in case such a situation takes place.
“I learned something from it, as far as how you should react when someone is drunk and what you should do when you don’t know what to do in a situation,” Long said.
Cadet Corey Milner, a student at the University of Virginia, said the show brought up points he had never heard before and can help him set a good example.
“As a future leader, I need to know how to deal with situations like this,” Milner said. “Other people can see how you deal with them and learn from you as well.”
Lt. Col. Brian Slack, chief of training for LTC, said the curriculum started a couple of years ago and is coupled with extra training on the same subjects for the Cadets. The extra training includes the sexual harassment and assault response program, also known as SHARP training.
Slack said the training is important because it helps set the tone for Cadets as to what comprises the Army Values and the service’s policies.
“They get this training early on, and it helps them figure out if what the Army is all about is congruent with their own set of values or not,” Slack said.
Milner said he would know what to do if he saw a problem arise.
“If you see something wrong, speak up,” Milner said. “Just because there’s a lot of people seeing something going wrong doesn’t mean they’re necessarily going to do that.”