March SARC remarks

  • Published
  • By Val Cook
  • 82nd Training Wing Sexual Assault and Prevention Response Office
Team Sheppard...The rate of sexual assaults in the military remains intolerably high. Statistics show that one in three persons will be sexually assaulted in the military.

General Welsh, AF Chief of Staff said it best, "The goal for sexual assault in the United States Air Force is zero. If you're a commander or a supervisor and you are not directly and aggressively involved in speaking up about this issue in your unit, then you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem."

But, what if a commander or supervisor who doesn't know about an issue in your unit - how can you fix something you don't know about?

I'm convinced in talking with members of team Sheppard that there are many who do NOT understand the "real" concept of the issue we face. Let me share three of the most typical myths about sexual assault...

Myth: "Strangers commit most sexual assault crimes."
Fact: The "non-stranger" -- a date, co-worker, casual acquaintance, relative or spouse - is the most likely perpetrator of a sexual assault. According to the Department of Justice statistics, "nearly 80 percent of victims know their attacker."

Myth: "Sexual assaults only happen to women because men can fight back - physically -and prevent this type of attack."
Fact: Sexual assault is an equal opportunity crime for women and men. Research statistics indicate that one in three military women, one in four women in general society and one in 33 men are sexually assaulted. Alcohol and drugs can incapacitate men as easily as women.

Myth: "You can't prevent a sexual assault; it's just bad luck."
Fact: You can empower yourself and those around you when you're aware of the tactics sexual perpetrators use. These criminals are less likely to assault someone who is aware of their tactics because perpetrators count on their victim's innocence and vulnerability.

The biggest challenge we face surrounds the concept of CONSENT! When is a person able to give it, but equally as important, when is it rescinded!

The month of April has been designated Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in the United States. The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence.

On 1 April, look for our four-foot high, wooden-teal ribbons at the gate entrances, but for some real awareness fun, we invite you to sign up for the 5K "Color" Fun Run, to be held on 13 Apr, 0800...register at the Gym or by calling the SAPR office at 676-0365 - the run is FREE!!

Three rules:
1. Wear white at the starting line;
2. Grab your coolest eye shades; and
3. Finish plastered in color

Even if you don't run in it, come out and cheer on your teammates, because it does take all of us to stay resilient and balanced!

Sexual assault has no boundaries and anyone can fall victim to this crime," said Cook. "Making sure everyone understands that is one of our top goals." The overall message of the program is that sexual assault can happen to anyone.

As your Sheppard Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO), we are absolutely committed to help preventing this type of disrespectful behavior.

Remember, you can get help by calling the hotline at 940-676-7272. Other options include calling the Safe Helpline at, call 877-995-5247 or text 55-247 (202-470-5546 for outside the U.S.).