Air Force

June 12, 2014

Keeping workplace relations appropriate is crucial to overall Airman wellness, readiness

Tags:
Airman 1st Class Thomas Spangler
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
(U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Thomas Spangler)
Anyone can become a victim of a sexual assault or an unwanted advance. If an individual does not feel comfortable in their workplace because of an assault or unwanted advance, they may become distracted from effectively completing their mission. If you are the recipient of an unwanted advance, report it to your chain of command.

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev.  — Today’s Airmen face many challenges in both their personal lives and the workplace. Having to worry about feeling safe from unwanted advances or sexual assault should not be one of those challenges. In addition to being essential for effectively completing the mission, being free from unwanted advances or sexual assault is a necessity to overall Airman wellness.

Often times, inappropriate behavior in the work place starts at a seemingly innocent level but then builds into more malicious behavior and conversations.

“Sometimes we learn how to tolerate certain inappropriate actions because we deem them low threat. We then normalize them [and make those actions or conversations acceptable],” said Terri Nathan, 99th Air Base Wing sexual assault prevention and response victim advocate. “When that happens, it can escalate. One week someone may make an inappropriate joke, next week someone may want to one-up [the other].”

Though that particular colorful conversation may be between individuals who are perfectly fine with the situation, there may be someone else in the room who is offended by the nature of the conversation. If that person is the only one who is offended and is afraid to speak up, he or she could in turn become isolated from his or her co-workers.

Being isolated because of fear should never be the case for Airmen.

“All Airmen should be able to come to work in a comfortable and respectable environment” said Master Sgt. Stephanie Martinez, 99th CPTS first sergeant.

It is up to peers, co-workers, and supervision to put a stop to inappropriate workplace behavior and unwanted advances.

“It is up to peer pressure to stop [inappropriate] behavior and to report it to supervision before the issue gets out of hand,” Martinez said.

In addition to unwanted advances and inappropriate behavior, sexual assault in the military is a serious challenge that can hinder Airmen from completing their mission.

“As military members [sexual assault is currently] a hot topic in the media and Congress,” Nathan said. “Our image can be tarnished.”

The more sexual assault happens in the military, the more it will be reported by the media, and the more the public’s image of military members will be tainted.

Sexual assault is an issue that affects both men and women in a variety of ways.

The majority of reported attacks have come from women between the ages of 18 to 26. However, they are not the only victims. Men are just as likely to be a victim of sexual assault as women.

“Men would report it less [than women] because there’s the shock value for men. In our culture, men are taught that they should be able to fight off an attacker. If it’s woman on man, the man could be ostracized. His male friends might isolate him for not being excited about having sex.”

“If it’s man on man, [the victim] could call into question his sexuality or his manhood. [Or] they don’t want to be associated with the stigma of being a victim of sexual assault,” Nathan said.

Many of the cases covered by the media have been situations where the perpetrator is in a position of authority over their victim. This is not always the case.

“Most cases that are received happen between people that are acquaintances. It also happens among peers,” Nathan said.

Many times, these peers and acquaintances are together in social situations where alcohol is present.

“The alcohol causes people to let their guard down,” Nathan said.

There are a couple of ways to prevent sexual assault.

The primary person who can prevent assault is the potential assailant. It is up to him or her on whether or not to commit the offense.

The second method of prevention is bystander intervention. People who are present but not involved with the potential incident have the choice to intervene in the situation before an assault happens.

“Compare it to a DUI. Do we stop it based on the potential harm, or let it go? If you see something that isn’t right, do something to stop it,” Nathan said.

An intoxicated person leaving a social gathering with another individual who has mal intent can be compared to a person attempting to drive home while drunk. Bystanders need to stop the situation before it even has the chance to develop.

To report an unwanted advance from a fellow Airman, notify your supervision.

A workplace and environment free of unwanted advances, threats, or assaults is one of the most important pieces to overall Airman wellness and being able to effectively and efficiently carry out the mission.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ciara Gosier)

Historic fighter squadron celebrates 98th birthday

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ciara Gosier) Historic_Pict2 Caption: U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 94th Fighter Squadron and Aircraft Maintenance Unit pose for a photo at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Aug. 21, 2015. The ph...
 
 
WEBKeySpouse_pict

Key Spouse Program: Supporting the families and Airmen of 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern)

Photo: KeySpouse_pict DAVIS-MONTHAN AFB, Ariz. — It is in the nature of military service that at some point you will be separated from the ones who love you. Often times a permanent change of station forces spouses and si...
 
 
(Courtesy photo)

SecAF, CSAF, CMSAF present new “little blue book”

(Courtesy photo) Caption: Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody congratulates an Airman attending Airmen’s Week Aug. 27, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. The Airmen received a copy of “America’...
 

 
af-uav4

Arming the RPAs

Air Force photograph by TSgt. Joseph Swafford A1C Matthew Lopez (center), 62nd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron munitions systems technician, builds a GPS-guided GBU-49 bomb at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 15, 2015...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash

AF Senior leaders give State of the Air Force address

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Mark A. Welsh III held a State of the Air Force address at the Pentagon, Aug. 24. The first topic of discussion w...
 
 
SAPR_pict

Air Force extends SAPR services to AF civilians

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Air Force released a policy memo today allowing Air Force civilian employees who are victims of sexual assault to file restricted and unrestricted reports with their installation’s sexual a...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>