Team Osan holds SAPR Down Day
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Airmen and civilian employees from across the base participated in a Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Down Day, May 22.
The day focused on identifying offenders and will be followed by a day dedicated to understanding victims in the fall.
Capt. David Yu, 51st Fighter Wing sexual assault response coordinator, said he believed the day was beneficial since most people think sexual predators all fit one description.
"There are no physical characteristics that define how a perpetrator looks," Yu said. "There is a misconception that perpetrators are strangers wearing a ski mask hiding in a dark alley, waiting to assault an individual. Through statistics, we can see that this is not the case."
Yu cited facts from Fiscal Year 2013 which show that victims knew their attacker in 69 percent of the cases.
On the morning of, and in the days leading up to the down day, Col. Brook Leonard, 51st FW commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Terrence Greene, 51st FW command chief, held commander's calls outlining what Airmen can do to combat sexual assault among their ranks.
"We need to drain the swamp," Leonard said, adding that the environment must be changed so those who engage in harmful behavior will be more readily identifiable.
Greene likened sexual misconduct to cancer, as it erodes the values Airmen stand for and creates a culture that dehumanizes victims.
"Cancer takes over an organism, and that organism is the United States Air Force," Greene said.
The remainder of the day was spent in smaller group sessions led by trained facilitators, allowing Airmen and civilian employees to discuss the atmosphere in their individual units and hold discussions.
Groups also completed silent walks around the base's outdoor running track as a tribute to victims, passing helmets placed atop stanchions that each represented one of the 20 victims from Osan who reported a sexual assault in Fiscal Year 2013.
Yu said Airmen can help keep the number of these crimes down by having the courage to leave their comfort zone.
"If we can reduce the environment where inappropriate behavior and language is condoned, there will be less of an area where perpetrators can maneuver," Yu said.
Greene said prevention starts with each Airman.
"Ask yourself, 'What tone am I setting?,'" Green said. "'Would people place their trust in me to report an attack?"
Leonard said there are three categories an Airmen can fall into - perpetrators, contributors or those who take action.
"Our primary objective is to deter and eliminate predators," Leonard said. "It's about serving others, and making sure we have a team that can get after the mission every day."
To report sexual assault, call the Osan SARC 24/7 hotline at 784-7272.