U.S. Airmen and Soldiers from the Kaiserslautern Military Community participated in the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office’s CLEAR challenge in observance of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month April 20 on Ramstein Air Base.
CLEAR, which stands for Courage, Leadership, Education, Advocacy and Respect, was designed to inform members of the effects sexual assault has on members, and how to support them on their way to recovery.
“About one-in-four women, and one-in-six men are affected by sexual violence,” Marianne Gustafson, 86th Airlift Wing Sexual Assault Response Coordinator. “This is something that is in plain sight, but it’s hidden. No one really knows the true impact sexual assault has on the community because we can’t see it. What’s important is that we realize it’s impact on our overall mission.”
The event included an obstacle course, bubble soccer, tug-of-war, writing letters to survivors, a silent walk, and a Humvee push.
“I think each year we learn a little bit more,” said Gustafson. “The first year we only the obstacle course. Now we have expanded and added so much. We really tried to make it a well-rounded event.
Members from the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, the Air Force Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment office, and the Sexual Assault and Prevention and Response office came together to host the event.
“This is all for the community coming together, that we can make change, that our culture can change,” said Gustafson. “We don’t have to accept sexual violence as part of our norms in our society. We can make a difference.”
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Justin Ward, 86th AW SAPR office victim advocate, said awareness is the biggest reason for this event. He said it’s something the SAPR office wants to remind people of throughout the year.
“People aren’t alone,” said Ward. “You’re surrounded by a community there to help. There’s so many people who can help.”
The event ended with approximately 28 teams of six members participating, over 70 volunteers, and close to 100 spectators.
“The event was beautiful,” said Gustafson. “It was a great day. We had great weather, people had a lot of energy, everyone was excited to be here. I actually just heard a participant who didn’t know the answer to a question, and that was the point of this. So everyone in the KMC knows who to reach out to.”