NEWS | April 4, 2012

Preventing sexual assault; everyone's duty

By Senior Airman Anthony Hyatt Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a yearly reminder to raise awareness and promote the prevention of sexual violence. This year's theme, "Hurts one. Affects all ... Preventing sexual assault is everyone's duty," focuses on the effects of sexual assault on the military's mission readiness.

To help spread the message, several activities have been scheduled at Joint Base Charleston during the month.

Activities at the JB Charleston - Weapons Station:

- A Sexual Assault Prevention and Response information table will be available every Monday from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the JB Charleston - Weapons Station galley. The table will display T-shirts designed by victims of sexual assault.

- Sex Signals is scheduled for April 18 at the Red Bank Club and Bowman Center. The Sex Signals Improv group will provide training on bystander intervention, sexual assault and sexual harassment awareness and the role alcohol plays in sexual assault. Sessions begin at 10 a.m. at the Red Bank Club and 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. at the Bowman Center.

- A 5K Road Rage is scheduled for 7 a.m., April 25 at Sam's Gym.

- A kickball tournament is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. at the Marrington Plantation. Teams must consist of 10 to 12 players. Contact Tiffany Mizzell at 764-7428 to sign up.

Activities at JB Charleston - Air Base

- Squadron walk around - Sexual Assault Victim Advocates will rotate with Sexual Assault Response Coordinators, visiting different squadrons and distributing Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office informational items.

At River Green on the College of Charleston campus, the local Rape Crisis Center, along with the College of Charleston, will host Take Back the Night from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., April 12. Take Back the Night is a march and candlelight vigil that symbolizes the end of violence against men, women and children.

Lucy Rodriguez, 628th Air Base Wing SAPRO coordinator said, "3.4 percent of women and .5 percent of men were sexually assaulted during a 12-month period according to the 2010 Gallop Survey of the Air Force active-duty military. Nineteen percent of women and two percent of men were sexually assaulted while serving in the Air Force.

"Sexual assaults go against the core values of the Air Force and degrade mission effectiveness," Rodriguez continued. "In order for our Airmen to be successful, they must be able to trust their wingmen; if they cannot trust their wingmen within their Air Force family, how can they be expected to succeed?"

"April is an exciting month for me as a SARC," said Tiffany Mizzell, JB Charleston - Weapons Station SARC. "It's an opportunity to reach out to our Sailors and their families and provide them with information regarding the various services of our program. However, this is also a time to give a voice to those who have remained silent. Sexual assault is contrary to the Navy's core values - one incident is too many. Although SAAM places a focus on sexual assault during the month of April, prevention and awareness of sexual assault must continuously be enforced."

Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley said, "Inspiring our Airmen to be good wingmen is not just a worthy undertaking ... it is a critical mission enabling task that has hope of one day creating an Air Force without sexual assault, making it a benchmark for all the world to emulate."