Commentary

June 20, 2014

SAPR Stand-Down Day feedback

Kimberly Shirley
Edwards Sexual Assault Prevention program manager

June 14, Team Edwards held its Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Stand-Down Day.

We trained 130-plus facilitators to help guide discussions on identifying offenders of sexual assault to educate and bring awareness that offenders can look like you and I, and if given the right environment, they can work amongst us and do harm to our team members.

Many of you told us you enjoyed the small group interaction and found it to be very useful as it was an opportunity to speak openly with your coworkers and peers. In small groups, people became more comfortable talking about this difficult topic.

With commanders’ involvement throughout, the group members felt leadership is trying to take action to prevent sexual assaults. The “Five I’s” of identifying offenders was introduced and was found to be useful and thought provoking. There was also a recommendation to have this type of training twice a year and the Air Force intends to do just that. SAPR Stand-Down Day Part II will convene this fall.

We understand this training was new to many of our civilian Airmen, for in the past only civilians that supervised military were required to have this training. Air Force has now included all civilian Airmen to ensure they are aware of the SAPR program and how they too can utilize our local team if they need information or assistance.

During the training members read and heard scenarios about events that lead to or resulted in someone being assaulted. There was a video portrayal of a sexual offender named “Jack.” Although the person that represented “Jack” was an actor, the story is true and the offender was military. With education, awareness and training, he understood his actions constituted rape. We don’t know if this event took place before he entered active duty or while he was on active duty. The intent was to show how, as an offender, he operated and this may have resonated with someone in the audience. When it’s discussed out loud maybe someone could see themselves as the victim or offender. Even though some of the scenarios may have sounded far-fetched each of them was a real world event that happened in the Air Force.

The question has been raised many times, “What is the climate of Edwards and why don’t we report sexual assaults like DUIs and speeding citations?” The SAPR program’s purpose is to promote sensitive care and confidential reporting. Publishing information about sexual assaults defeats this purpose and is a violation of privacy. In an assault, an alleged victim did not or could not give consent. If it were not for the action of the offender there would not have been an allegation of a sexual assault. With DUIs and speeding, an individual makes a conscience decision to drink and drive, or speed. Should a sexual assault case go to a court martial, it is open to the public and court martial results are normally published in the base paper.

We heard your request on wanting more real world cases.

June 25, the SAPR Center will host a special showing of “The Invisible War.” The documentary about sexual assault in the military will be show from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The SAPR Center is in Bldg. 3940, Room 202. Seating is limited so R.S.V.P. no later than June 24 by calling Carolyn at (661) 277-4988; or Kim at (661) 277-7272. Snack bar will be available or feel free to bring your bag lunch.




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