The Camp Arifjan Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) Program. (Courtesy:; CREDIT: U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Jennifer Spradlin, U.S. Army Central Public Affairs)

National Sexual Assault Prevention Awareness Month is recognized by members of the United States Armed Forces both at home and abroad.

Troops stationed at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait recently participated in the camp’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) Program.

The camp has organized courses for its members as a part of the program, put on by volunteers who specialize in different areas, such as martial arts and self defense. The courses have been mainly put together by John McCraw, a staff sergeant and SHARP victim advocate for U.S. Army Central Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion.

“I want to keep people safe, and that’s much easier if they know the basics [of self defense]. Like how to escape from a confrontation or keep it from escalating,” McCraw told “We teach situational awareness; how to avoid putting yourself in a situation where you are vulnerable and to always trust your gut.”

While working with Spc. Laura Micthell, a transportation specialist with the 869th Movement Control Team, an Army Reserve unit from Ohio, he walks her through a few common scenarios. He builds from the most basic of responses, the block, and transitions into immobilizing strike zones. He stresses that the idea is to immobilize and escape, never escalate the fight. He offers little tips, like “elbows are your best friend,” and adjusts her form when she is confused by a movement.

“You don’t have to be a black belt in martial arts. It’s really about coming here a couple nights and learning these simple steps,” McCraw told

McGraw and the other instructors will continue to hold their classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the month of April at the Zone 6 Cross Fit Gym. Those interested in attending the courses or looking for more information should contact their unit SHARP representative or USARCENT’s SHARP office at DSN 318-430-3453.

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