SAPR training brings awareness
KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The 8th Fighter Wing held an awareness day, June 21, 2013, to conduct and reflect on Sexual Assault Prevention Response training.
Leading off with 'My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light 'em up)' by Fall Out Boy, Col. S. Clinton Hinote, 8th Fighter Wing commander, told the Wolf Pack to prepare themselves because he would speak frankly about this sensitive issue.
"So much of what we have to talk about today has been in the dark, which is why we have to dedicate a day to talk about sexual assault," Hinote said. "Some of the reasons why it is still a major problem for us are still in the dark, which is why we are going to bring those in the light today."
Throughout the SAPR awareness day, Wolf Pack members took part in several events that focused on sexual assault and prevention training. With the issue a high priority for leadership, Hinote took measures to get to the root of the problem in hopes to prevent it from happening in the future.
During a commander's call at the base theatre, Hinote said there was a likelihood that someone in the room or someone close to them has been a victim of sexual assault, which is why he wanted to have a frank discussion about the issue.
"The folks at Kunsan have done a lot of research; we believe it is important to know what the facts are so you can understand this issue a little better," Hinote said. "We also have folks all over who want to help; our mental health providers, victim advocates in the black T-shirts and chaplains are here for you."
During the SAPR brief, not only did Hinote break down the science of the sexual assault statistics, but the results of a survey taken by Kunsan members as well. He stated the first steps to understanding the assaults were to assess ourselves and see what our culture is.
Following the brief, Wolf Pack members marched out of the theater in a single file line for a 'silent walk' along the fitness center track, where a memorial for victims of sexual assault at Kunsan dating back 10 years was displayed.
"Honestly it really hit home; not just the fact that I know people who were victims of sexual assault, but just seeing the things happen to them and the stories they've told me. I almost broke down and cried," said Tech. Sgt. Elizabeth Urquia, 8th Maintenance Squadron armament floor chief. "Nobody should have it happen to them."
After the walk, members returned to their work sections, where males and females separated into different areas to watch a video and discuss what they saw. Facilitators were on hand to challenge the audience to dig deeper and expose their true feelings on the sensitive issue of sexual assault.
To keep the focus on prevention and education, Sexual Assault Theater Group members performed improvised skits and scenarios to bring the full spectrum of the issue to the forefront.
"We are losing out on the wingman concept, because we see our friends with other people we know and we think they're in good hands, but it doesn't click in our head that maybe something can happen," Urquia, a SATG performer, said. "Which is why I think this (skit) is important because some people don't think about it."
In a bid to expose the dark side of sexual assault, the documentary 'The Invisible War' was also played on the commander's access channel every two hours throughout the day. It told of the struggles of male and female servicemembers who have suffered sexual assault and its aftermath. It also showed how their plights for justice were a roller coaster of legal road blocks, as well as mental and physical strains.
Hinote issued a challenge to all members to 'really watch it' for 10 minutes and then turn it off, citing he has yet to meet anyone who could.
Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel had directed all services to take a day to focus on the issues of sexual assault, which Hinote took to heart, and aimed to make this day different from others in the past.
"Today we took the time to focus on what we can to prevent sexual assault and help those who have suffered from this crime," he said. "We will not do things the same way and expect different results."