SARC's Remarks: acceptance, ownership, action

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Last week's 82nd Trainging Wing's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response stand-down day was phenomenal! A first of its kind here, and quite honestly, I couldn't remember being more proud of our team!

We opened our gates to allow the media to see how we, as a concerned team, support each other in taking on these tough challenges. As we told them, this issue with sexual assaults in the military is one we share with the folks outside the gate.

Did you know, 81 percent of Americans view sexual assault in the military as an extremely or very important issue, but the public does not believe the problem of sexual assault is a bigger problem in the military than outside it. Eleven percent say it is more of a problem inside the military, 23 percent say it is more of a problem outside the military, and 63 percent say it is about the same.

Did you know, that 40 percent of Americans say the reports of sexual assault in the military represent underlying problems with military culture, just over half at 54 percent say they represent individual acts of misconduct.

Did you know, a little more than half of Americans have a great deal or fair amount of confidence that military leaders will make the right decisions when it comes to the problem of sexual assault in the military, while only 36 percent express at least a fair amount of confidence in Congress on this issue.

My take on getting a handle on this crime is two-fold:

First, situations can go south very quickly, so having a wingman, one who is willing to stand up and be active, even when it's not popular or cool, is critical. Secondly, people must be willing to step forward if you feel you've been assaulted - no one can help you, if you don't tell us.

Sounds simple, right? Actions speak louder than words. Being a good wingman is the coolest thing you will ever do, because the more you do it, the easier it gets. Remember, we're here for you 24/7, so if you feel that you've been a victim of sexual assault, call us at 676-7272.