Sexual Assault Awareness Month

by Airman 1st Class Alexandria Mosness
Ramstein Public Affairs

From the highest to the lowest ranking Airmen, from civilians to servicemembers, all will have the opportunity to stress prevention, raise awareness and educate others during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Since 2001, April has been designated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and Ramstein is no stranger to helping raise awareness.
Ramstein kicked off SAAM April 1 when base leadership signed a banner stating, “pledge to end sexual assault” as a commitment to end sexual violence.

“Sexual assault is absolutely inconsistent with our core values and it has no place in our Air Force, in a deployed context, at home or anywhere in between,” Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley said at a sexual assault prevention summit in December. “Many offenders were known by their victims and most involved crimes committed by other servicemembers. This is blue-on-blue violence, and we cannot accept it.”

Beginning in 2005, the Air Force commenced the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program and assigned full-time sexual assault response coordinators at all main operating installations.

While SARCs report directly to vice wing commanders and offer assistance throughout the Air Force, they also support major deployment sites. There are also more than 1,500 volunteer victim advocates who assist the SARCs to ensure sexual assault victims are given the support and care they need.

There are some preventative steps to take to get out of sexual assault situations.
“Be aware of your surroundings and who you associate with,” said Capt. Vanessa Vanden Bout, 435th Air Base Wing SARC. “Most assaults are committed by someone the victim knows.”

If someone is sexually assaulted, they should call a SARC immediately.
“In the event you are assaulted, get away from the attacker and seek medical attention right away,” Captain Vanden Bout said. “Contact your SARC. Don’t shower, change your clothes, go to the bathroom or brush your teeth. You also should not eat or drink before you have been seen by a doctor. Also, consider seeking counseling. Sexual assault is a violent, disturbing event. It’s normal to need help adjusting after something like that happens to you.”

Victims have two options for reporting sexual assault: restricted and unrestricted.
Active-duty members can report the assault as restricted, which allows the victim to disclose the information about the assault to SARCs and victim advocates confidentially. This does not trigger an official investigation. Victims may also reported it unrestricted. Unrestricted reporting opens up the investigation process.
For more information, contact the SARC office at 480-5597 or 06371-47-5597 or call the 24-hour number at 480-7272 or 06371-47-7272.

The KMC offers several events throughout the month to help raise awareness, including the joint Air Force and Army sponsored SAAM 5-kilometer run and 1-kilometer walk. This event, started last year, is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. today at the Ramstein Southside Gym.

Along with the awareness run, there are many other activities planned, including:
• Wednesday – Booth at HAWC Health Fair for Wellness Day
• April 26 – Shine the Light Walk (Will begin at Vogelweh Youth Center in the evening)
• April 27-28 – “Sex Signals” play (Mandatory for dorm residents. NOTE: This will count toward annual training.)