Commentary

February 7, 2014

Have your say in sexual assault prevention

Carolyn Graves and Kim Shirley
Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office

How many times have you sat through mandatory Sexual Assault Prevention training classes and said “I thought we were going to talk about this or “I wish we had the chance to discuss that.”

Since 2005, when the Air Force stood up the SAPR program, we were given guidance and a curriculum.

In the early years, we reviewed the policies, procedures and how to report a sexual assault. In 2010, we changed our focus to becoming an active bystander who would step up and intervene when inappropriate things were being said or recognize bad behavior in the duty area and take corrective action.

Last year, we again shifted our attention from victim-centered, or blaming behaviors, to recognizing that anyone can be a perpetrator of sexual assault. Not all perpetrators are the scary guy in the dark sweat suit waiting to attack someone by jumping out from behind the bushes or lurking around parked cars. Those types of encounters have decreased over the years.

This year, we plan to do something totally new and different: Peer-to-Peer discussion groups. Based on your previous feedbacks, we realized there are issues and concerns that you want to talk about.

Issues include false reporting; does the alleged offender have a support system? What if you are accused of sexual assault? Are you guilty until proven innocent?

The P2P discussions will be divided into two groups, those younger 29 and under and those older than 30.

We want to hear from YOU, yes, YOU the participants in our upcoming P2P discussion groups. Tell us what you want to discuss about sexual assault prevention or ask questions of your peers to start the dialogue.

You can email any issues, concerns, or subjects related to sexual assault prevention to Carolyn Graves at†carolyn.graves@us.af.mil,the Victim Advocate, or Kim Shirley, the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, kimberly.shirley@us.af.mil.

All submissions will remain anonymous during class discussion unless you desire to personally bring your issue to the class. We will send out instructions through your Unit Training Manager on how to sign up for the groups in the coming weeks. For now, send those ideas to us. We want to hear what you have to say.




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