Commentary

April 18, 2014

Sexual Assault Awareness Month: OSI’s perspective

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Special Agent Andrea O'Connor
Air Force OSI, Det. 111 commander

sarc-osi
Sexual assault is a problem that affects our entire society, especially our Air Force.

The Air Force Office of Special Investigations’ role in combating sexual assault includes conducting thorough investigations and providing commanders and the legal team with information to help them make decisions and take appropriate legal action.

Unlike the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator and Chaplain’s Office, which offer confidentiality and restricted reporting to individuals who have experienced a sexual assault, AFOSI is a law enforcement agency and a mandatory reporter. This means AFOSI must investigate any allegations of sexual assault that come to our attention. While the idea of having to speak with someone about such an event can be daunting, please know AFOSI takes pride in treating individuals who report sexual assault with compassion and respect. We work closely with the SARC, the Chaplain and the Legal Office in this regard.

While there are many understandable reasons why an individual may wish to cope with sexual assault trauma without involving others, please consider the following: often times the path to recovery comes from seeking justice and ensuring an offender is no longer able to inflict pain upon others. Many times AFOSI receives information about sexual assaults in which we later find out the offender had past victims who did not speak up. Providing a statement to AFOSI ensures there is a lasting record, which cannot be diminished by passage of time. For many individuals, being part of the investigative process and seeking justice is one powerful step towards recovery.

On a practical, positive note, there have been advances in forensic science and technology, which allow us to collect evidence in increasingly sophisticated manners. If you know or suspect you have been sexually assaulted, please DO NOT destroy, wash, or discard items of clothing or bedding you have in your possession. Also, please note that working with either AFOSI and/or the SARC to accomplish a sexual assault examination kit can be one of the single most useful items available to successfully document, investigate and prosecute the crime.

If you have any questions about AFOSI’s investigative process, or our organization in general, do not hesitate to stop by†Edwards AFB AFOSI Det. 111 in Bldg. 2810.




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