Airmen from the 86th Airlift Wing on Ramstein took an entire work day to focus on the importance of sexual assault prevention and response May 28.
The goal for SAPR stand-down day was to have Airmen come together as a group to discuss the topic in depth, including reinforcing how to intervene in unprofessional situations and what reporting options are available to them.
“Having a full day to talk to Airmen about how important sexual assault prevention is is invaluable,” said Carmen Schott, Ramstein sexual assault and response coordinator. “The reminder helps everyone understand the options available to them and also allows Airmen to talk to each other openly and candidly about a subject that can be sensitive.”
The day opened up with a commander’s call from the 86th Airlift Wing Commander Brig. Gen. Patrick X. Mordente.
“Sexual assault and sexual harassment are unacceptable, and they have no place in the Air Force,” Mordente said. “The Air Force is making progress in sexual assault response, but preventing the crime itself remains our goal.”
In fiscal year 2013, there were a total of 1,047 reports of sexual assault.
The general added that as a service, the Air Force cannot stop until there are zero sexual assaults and those who commit the crime are brought to justice.
“It takes courage for a victim of sexual assault to come forward to make a restricted or an unrestricted report,” he said. “If sexual misconduct occurs, it’s important victims are treated with care and feel confident to report the incident without fear of ridicule, retaliation or reprisal. Regardless of the reporting option chosen by a sexual assault victim, we as Airmen must ensure they get the help they need.”
Mordente’s words echo those of the chief of staff of the Air Force, Gen. Mark A. Welsh III.
“We live in a culture of respect,” Welsh said. “We cherish our core values of integrity, service and excellence. But in order to ensure all Airmen experience and benefit from those values, we must eliminate sexual assault in our ranks.”
A goal of the sexual assault and prevention program is to reinforce that every Airman has the duty to promote a safe, respectful and productive work environment free from sexual innuendo, harassment and assault. Prevention includes informing and educating Airmen of their rights and responsibilities to themselves and to each other and having the ability to identify potential perpetrators.
Airmen were told to be on the lookout for specific traits of offenders, like someone who shows hostility toward the opposite sex, has lower levels of empathy or holds traditional gender role stereotypes.
The general said having these traits doesn’t mean someone will sexually assault another, but rather shows a correlation between the sexual assailants interviewed and the traits they exhibited.
In addition to the training, the SAPR coordinator said it was important that victims know that on possibly the worst day of their lives they have a place they can go to receive compassionate, capable support from the Air Force.
“We want Airmen to completely understand that if they are sexually assaulted, it’s never their fault, and they can continue to trust that we will do everything we can do to help them in their time of need,” Schott said. “Whether they want a restricted report or unrestricted, we’re here to help.”
The day’s events concluded by giving Airmen a chance to share successful stories of intervention within small groups.
For more information about sexual assault prevention and reporting options, visit www.