NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — On June 6 Nellis Airmen and civilian personnel participated in all-day Sexual Assault Prevention and Response training focused on identified offenders.
The SAPR stand-down day consisted of an effort to reinforce a zero-tolerance attitude for sexual assault in the Air Force. The focus of this SAPR training was to identify offenders and prevent the stigma of reporting.
“The training is so important, because it’s happening in our Air Force and we need to address it,” said Master Sgt. Kelly Pearson, 99th Comptroller Squadron Finance Flight Chief and facilitator for the SAPR stand down day.
The SAPR stand-down day began with a commander’s call at the base theatre. The commander’s call briefing contained informative statistics and talked about how sexual assault is becoming more apparent.
The briefing had three main objectives. The first objective was to deter perpetrators and eliminate criminal behavior by knowing what constitutes consent, predatory grooming behaviors, and confronting inappropriate behaviors.
The second objective was to encourage victims to come forward. The objective was to prioritize victim’s health, minimize victim re-traumatization, and instill trust and support by peers and leadership.
The third objective was building and reinforcing the Air Force Climate. It taught acceptable behaviors for being on and off duty, how to talk to survivors, holding people accountable and how to take appropriate actions for inappropriate behaviors.
As the SAPR down-day continued, it focused on small group sessions. During the small group sessions, members discussed recent Department of Defense sexual assault cases and identified preventive measures on how offenders think and operate. In an effort to put in perspective how severe sexual assault is, groups went through a series of exercises such as, the invisible backpack. The invisible backpack exercise allowed members to brainstorm about different burdens sexual assault victims might be carrying with them.
A few of these burdens are; being labeled, backlash of reporting and military boundaries such as working in a small shop.
“The reality is this is a systematic problem,” said Airman Sammi Reynolds, 57th Adversary Tactics Group Knowledge Operations Manager, “We all need to be aware of the issue as well as the indicators of identifying possible threats so we can protect ourselves and our wingmen.”
Sexual assault is happening all across the military. The SAPR stand-down day was developed in an effort to provide information and knowledge to every Airman as well as prevent the stigma of reporting a sexual assault. The training also touched on offender behaviors and indicators to help prevent future incidents.
“Hopefully [the training] will help victims come forward and to know we’re not going to treat them as the predator,” Pearson said.
For additional resources or to learn more, contact the Nellis AFB Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office 24-hour hot line at (702) 652- SARC (7272) or (702) 652-5399. The 24-hour on-call Rape Crisis Center Las Vegas at (702) 366-1640.