Hurts one, affects all ... real wingmen act!

  • Published
  • By Lynn Emond, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Sexual Assault Response Program
April is observed as Sexual Assault Awareness Month as a way to raise awareness about and to promote prevention of sexual violence through special events and public education.

The 2012 SAAM Department of Defense theme is: "Hurts one, Affects all ... Real Wingmen Act." The campaign will focus on the effects sexual assault has on the military's mission readiness.

As is readily understood throughout the military, mission readiness defines a unit's ability to deploy quickly and efficiently. A sexual assault can reverberate throughout a unit, degrading readiness by harming the life of the victim, and the military's ability to work effectively as a team.

This theme provides the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program the opportunity to speak with commanders and senior enlisted leaders about maintaining mission readiness and preventing this crime.

"Hurts one, Affects all ..." not only conveys that sexual assault affects the victim, it affects families associated with each case and a unit's climate and cohesion. Leadership at all levels must remain diligent - we cannot afford to let this crime continue in our ranks. The human toll is too great.

Sexual assault response coordinators, victim advocates and commanders are encouraging our community to ask, act and intervene in situations where people may be in jeopardy. This is especially important when alcohol is involved.

Taking a stance against potential perpetrators of sexual assault can make a difference. Creating an environment of mutual respect and assistance is key to prevention.

Activities are scheduled for Sexual Assault Awareness Month including Gate Day and displays throughout base to provide information on safe dating and internet crime prevention.

The SAPR program will host a Lunch-n-Learn event on April 20 for our victim advocates and case management group agencies. Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center, Wichita Police Department and St. Joe's SANE/SART Program will attend and provide training for McConnell team members.

This event will provide refresher training on the local community for our members and will also strengthen community ties. SAPR Program staff, in coordination with the Department of Veterans Affairs Trauma Unit, will set up the Clothesline Project at the base exchange to meet people, answer questions and provide prevention materials 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., April 27.

We encourage all Airmen and family members to learn about the issue of sexual assault and what can be done to prevent it.

For more information, please contact your McConnell SAPR office at (316) 759-1872 or 759-3048.