SAPR stand-down day encourages Airmen to be part of solution
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Misawa Airmen took part in a stand-down day for Sexual Assault Prevention and Response training after a call for action from senior defense leaders, June 24.
The wing facilitated 13 different sessions at different times and locations in order to ensure maximum participation from Airmen. The day consisted of a commander's call and unit-directed calls to discuss issues and solutions they have come across regarding sexual assault. The base also held wing-wide training where units were given materials to guide conversations and arm Airmen with information on sexual assault, reporting procedures and help agencies.
During the 35th Fighter Wing's Commander's Call, Col. Stephen Williams spoke about several topics such as the importance of SAPR, what Airmen can do to help prevent these problems and the statistics of sexual assaults in the Air Force.
The Air Force recognized a problem with the number of sexual assaults reported, he said. It made us ask, how can we support victims of sexual assault so they can come forward confidently and not feel overlooked? As a result of this, restricted and unrestricted reporting concepts came into play as well as other mechanisms that could be used to support the victim of a sexual assault.
"That was a great effort, but where it lacked was prevention ... 'How are we preventing this from happening in the first place?', so the culture change you are seeing is a focus on prevention," said Williams. "We will prevent [sexual assaults] through intervention, and that takes courage ... a lot of courage."
Leaders from every level call on Airmen to be part of the solution, not part of the problem in the movement toward a new culture that aims to rid sexual assault from the ranks.
"It is every Airman's duty to understand that sexual assault is a crime, and it is our moral obligation to expel this behavior from the ranks," said Gen. Herbert Carlisle, Pacific Air Forces commander.
Commanders can't solve this problem on their own ... we need your help, said Williams.
"Every one of you has to help us," said Williams. "I expect commander's to hold the line, set the standard and hold people accountable. We need to continue to provide an environment that allows Airmen to operate to the best of their abilities without distractions or discrimination of any kind."
To speak with the 35th Fighter Wing Sexual Assault Response Coordinator or for more information regarding the SAPR program, call 226-7271.
"Every Airman, every single one of you, deserves to be treated with respect," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III. "All of us are responsible for creating a climate where that's the expectation."