MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. — U.S. Air Force staff assigned to the Air National Guard’s training and education center held two events this week to observe sexual assault awareness month.
The campus’s sexual assault prevention and response office and the chaplain office organized the events.
Staff wore denim April 24, and made their best denim poses, outside the Warrior Network television studio in support of Denim Day.
Denim Day is an international observance that addresses the improper attitudes about attire toward sexual assault as well as helps to better support victims.
The campus then held an awareness month luncheon the following day, which included trivia on SAPR facts and statistics.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced sexual violence involving unwanted physical contact during their lifetimes. The Air Force states that “Airmen are no exception” to those statistics.
Dr. Jennifer L. Thomas, the U.S. Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program coordinator assigned to TEC, spoke with staff during the awareness luncheon. U.S. Air Force Chaplain, Lt. Col. Bradley T. Green joined her.
Doctor Thomas emphasized the importance of bystander intervention in sexual assault prevention. “Sometimes it’s difficult for us to intervene because maybe we don’t think we need to get involved; we think it’s not our business, or we think that a person can handle a situation, or we don’t know if it’s appropriate,” she said. “But if you see a situation … lean on the side of intervention, because you may save somebody’s life … you could save all kinds of things from happening.”
The Air Force stated in its April Commander’s Call bulletin that it had experienced an increase in sexual assault reporting, which included a record 1,480 reports of sexual assault involving Airmen as either victims or subjects in the fiscal year 2017. This jump may be from the increased trust in the system than in past years, officials said. Its leadership said that there remains progress to make.
The Department of Defense’s Safe Helpline, http://www.safehelpline.org is a 24/7 anonymous, confidential hotline, with one-on-one peer support, information, resources, and aid for service members affected by sexual assault.