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Sexual Assault Awareness Month
The month of April is designated Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence (focusing on sexual assault and rape) and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. Beginning in 2005, the Air Force commenced the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program and assigned full-time sexual assault response coordinators at all main operating installations. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Hans Roth)
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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Posted 3/28/2012   Updated 3/28/2012 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman Benjamin Sutton
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

3/28/2012 - MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho  -- Are you a victim of a sexual assault or has someone threatened to take advantage of you? You are not alone and there is help.

The base Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office has two opportunities for Gunfighters to participate in Sexual Assault Awareness Month during April.

The mission of the MHAFB SAPRO is to reinforce the Air Force's commitment to eliminate incidents of sexual assault through a comprehensive policy that centers on awareness and prevention, training and education, victim advocacy, response, reporting and accountability.

"We want to assist base leadership in educating Airmen across the force on prevention of the crime of sexual assault," said Dr. Cindi Drake, chief of the SAPRO for the 366th Fighter Wing. "The motto for SAAM is, 'Hurts one, affects all.'"

April SAAM events will include a Survivor Speak out, from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. April 4, at the Gunfighter Club and the 5K Fun Run/Walk at 9 a.m. April 27 at the base fitness center.

"These events are a way for base leadership and all Airmen to show support to the survivors and for the program because this is a topic that deserves attention," said Drake. "At the survivor speak out, the guest speaker will be Jennifer Landhuis from the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence. She has been an advocate and educator on the issues of stalking, domestic violence and sexual assault for the last 15 years."

Air Force policy promotes sensitive care and confidential reporting for victims of sexual assault and accountability for those who commit these crimes.

"I truly believe that SAAM is important to us as Gunfighters because getting awareness out is a duty as Airmen, regardless or rank or sex," said Staff Sgt. Evon Pretulak equal opportunity director. "We must ensure those individuals have an outlet or avenue to be taken care of."

According to Drake, sexual assaults affect more than just the victim - members of the victim's unit and family members are affected too. And if the perpetrator is convicted their unit and family are also affected.

The SAAM events are one way for the MHAFB SAPRO to get the word out about the services they provide in an effort to stop any kind of assault.

"We have to open our eyes to know that the Air Force is changing and men are just as susceptible to these kinds of assaults as women," said Pretulak. "I am excited to volunteer during the 5K because it is a great way for Gunfighters to come out and support a good cause."

For more information about sexual assault awareness month contact the SAPRO at (208) 828-7272.

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