Leadership summit informs supervisors on sexual assault prevention and response

By John Dwyer III DLA Troop Support Public Affairs


Supervisors assigned to the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support recently gained a better understanding of sexual assault prevention and response, DLA policy regarding sexual assault, and how to respond if faced with a SAPR-related incident.

During a SAPR leadership summit March 1, DLA Troop Support Commander Army Brig. Gen. Mark Simerly asked supervisors to be aware of the corrosive potential that sexual assault can have on individuals and organizations, and to address it properly.

“It’s not because of an event. It’s not because of a trend here at Troop Support,” Simerly said. “We know that there is tremendous [negative] potential in any given workforce and its individuals when we tolerate sexual assault ... It destroys careers. It destroys lives.”

Troop Support sexual assault response coordinator, Ella Wynn, hosted and organized the program, which included presentations from the heads of the Department of Defense and DLA SAPR programs, the Philadelphia Sexual Assault Response Center and skits performed by Troop Support employees.

The DOD SAPR program lead, Dr. Suzanne Holroyd, provided insight on SAPR’s relation to the Secretary of Defense’s priority of readiness by connecting it to sexual assault’s impact on DLA’s greatest resource: its people.

Holroyd acknowledged that although the summit was a good venue to discuss the subject matter with supervisors, the center of gravity for prevention efforts, DOD’s goal is to provide the right education at the right level of influence.

“We’re trying to understand how we can support activities at each of the echelons within the Department [of Defense],” Holroyd said.

DLA SARC Renée Ferranti provided a historical overview of the SAPR program in the DOD and highlighted the need for its start and growth.

She also explained the role of the commander’s incident report in the SAPR program. The CCIR is used to advise senior leaders when a SAPR incident is reported, and it ensures the attention and resources of the appropriate commands are engaged given the unique organization of DLA.

“[A SARC] can’t be boots on the ground everywhere there’s a DLA person,” Ferranti said.

Following Ferranti, retired Philadelphia police officer and representative of the Philadelphia Sexual Assault Response Center Michael Boyle presented information on services that PSARC, an independent community resource, offers victims of sexual assault.

To make the information more relatable to the audience, Maurice Dempsey, a tailored vendor logistics specialist in Construction and Equipment, and Denise Vogelei, a contracting officer in Clothing and Textiles, choreographed skits illustrating work-related scenarios that could lead to sexual assault. The skits provoked dialogue and answered some questions supervisors had.

Andrea Wicker, an integrated supply team chief in Industrial Hardware, came away with a better understanding of the mandatory reporting requirement of supervisors should an employee disclose a sexual assault incident.

“The question I had was ‘what if [the employee] came to me in confidence?’” Wicker said. “I learned that if [the employee] reports it to me, the supervisor, I still had to report it to the agency.”

In closing, Simerly reminded the supervisors that they are relied upon to set the tone for a healthy environment based on leadership, professionalism, accountability, core values and civility.

“We rely upon you as leaders to make sure we have that in the workplace,” Simerly said.

More information and discussion opportunities for all employees will be available during Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month in April. Additional information and resources can be found on the SAPR website.