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NEWS | April 28, 2015

Joint Base Charleston promotes SAPR month theme: “know your part, do your part”

By Senior Airman Marianique Santos 1st Combat Camera Squadron

Throughout the month of April, military and civilian members participated in events for Sexual Assault Prevention and Response month at Joint Base Charleston, S.C.

Events included a 5K SAPR run, a "design a shirt for the clothesline" project and a "walk a mile in their shoes" event, which further raised awareness and promoted education on the SAPR program.

"The theme of SAAPM is 'know your part, do your part,'" said Maj. Gen. Gina Grosso, U.S. Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention and Response director, who attended and spoke at the victims advocate recognition luncheon. "It's not enough to say, 'I'll never commit this crime.'"

The month's events were organized and sponsored by the SAPR office. The SAPR office reinforces the Air Force and Navy's commitment to eliminating sexual assault through a comprehensive program that provides prevention and awareness education.

"We've gotten better over the past decade in honing our ability to respond to sexual assault," said Grosso. "We could not have made it this far without the foundation we laid in 2005 which allowed us to accelerate our progress because it brought to light areas of improvement in dealing with this crime."

Grosso also commended the Joint Base Charleston SAPR team for the great work they have been doing for the program. She also recognized victim advocates - those newly certified and who have been volunteering for years - and presented them certificates for the time they have dedicated to their training and the program.

"I'm going on my second year of being a victim advocate," said Tech. Sgt. Chiquita Frazier, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron flight service center NCOIC. "Throughout the course of that, we have to do refresher training in different kinds of courses to make sure we maintain our national certification.  We get a lot of experience with different agencies that help victims recover. We're continuously learning and making sure that we are best prepared to help victims."

The victim advocate program supports SAPR's mission of ensuring compassionate and effective response for survivors and cultivating a base-wide wingman culture that is founded on mutual respect and trust.

"The purpose of the program is to assist individuals who come forward for help," said Grosso. "Victim advocates are people who can accompany an individual and provide support 24/7."

The victim advocates program is open to all active-duty military members and Department of Defense civilians. Airmen and Sailors who volunteer for the program take time out of their schedule to ensure that victims seek assistance from the appropriate agencies and get the support they need through the road to recovery.

"The training is phenomenal, so if you're a little anxious about volunteering, I would recommend that you come see the Sexual Assault Response coordinator," said Grosso. "There's no greater wingman than someone who volunteers to be a victim advocate."

Though not everybody can meet the requirements of becoming a victim advocate, Grosso asks everyone to uphold the SAPR month's theme by being part of the solution.

"You have to do your part to ensure this environment is a place where we can all thrive and every Airman is treated with dignity and respect," she said. "That's when we will achieve an Air Force free from sexual assault."