Kaiserslautern first to host ‘I. A.M. Strong’ in Europe

Story and photo by Christine June USAG Kaiserslautern

Intervene, Act and Motivate stand for more than just the acronym in the Army’s I. A.M. Strong campaign to combat sexual assaults and sexual harassment.
“What these words mean is for all Soldiers – commanders to junior enlisted – to do just that – intervene, act and be motivated to prevent sexual assaults from happening,” said Megan Roberts, U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern’s sexual assault response coordinator.

Launched in November, the I. A.M. Strong campaign encourages communities to hold briefings to educate Soldiers on how they can intervene, act and be motivated to stop this crime.

More than 800 Soldiers attended briefings held by the garrison Jan. 6 and 8 at the Galaxy Theater on Vogelweh.

“This (I. A.M. Strong campaign) is exactly what the Army needs,” said Capt. John Evans, the garrison’s Headquarters, Headquarters Detachment commander, who attended the Jan. 8 briefing. “It gets to the root of the problem and asks Soldiers to help make a difference and take a stand at their level where it counts the most.”
Mrs. Roberts said Kaiserslautern is the first community in Europe to hold these briefings.

“(Leadership) strongly support this initiative to re-emphasize to our community members that sexual assault will not be tolerated in the Kaiserslautern garrison,” said Lt. Col. Mechelle Hale, the garrison’s commander.

Reports of sexual assaults in the KMC dropped by seven in fiscal year 2008 from fiscal year 2007, which had 19 reported cases, Mrs. Roberts said.
There have been five cases reported so far this fiscal year.

“One is too many,” said Colonel Hale, Captain Evans and Mrs. Roberts in agreement.
Although a big first step, these community-wide briefings are just the beginning of the I. A.M. Strong campaign here, said Mrs. Roberts, who has been the garrison’s
sexual assault response coordinator for about two years.

“In the past, we have been working on creating a good response system so that when a sexual assault does occur in the community we can react and go through the proper channels,” Mrs. Roberts said. “Now, we’re moving into stopping assaults from even happening and teaching people about the risks factors and how to intervene when they do see trouble.”

The garrison holds sexual assault review boards every month as part of its Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program. Mrs. Roberts said that every major contributor to the community, such as the Provost Marshal’s Office, Chaplain’s Office, mental health professionals and command leadership, attend these meetings to discuss prevention and response procedures in the KMC.

The Sexual Assault Hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 0162-296-7320. To get involved with the campaign, contact Mrs. Roberts at 493-4148 or 0631-3406-4148.
To find out more about the Army’s I. A.M. Strong campaign, visit their Web site at www.sexualassault.