Protecting our people protects our mission

by Airman 1st Class Ilyana A. Escalona, 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Stripes Korea

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month is recognized in April each year by the U.S. Air Force community. This year's theme for Osan is "Protecting Our People Protects Our Mission."

SAAPM is a time to educate military members and their families about sexual assault prevention and response, and how to focus on creating the appropriate culture to eliminate sexual assault. The SAPR office hosted a kick-off breakfast, a 5k run and a mock trial to help bring awareness throughout the month.

“We all have a part in combating sexual assault and SAAPM offers an excellent opportunity to focus attention on our individual roles and educating others on the importance of the SAPR program,” said Sandra Beecher, 51st Fighter Wing full time volunteer victim advocate.

SAPR services are available to active duty, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard members in Title 10 status, active duty and overseas Department of Defense civilian employees’ dependents ages 18 and older, Numbered Air Force employees, and U.S. citizen DoD contractor personnel working overseas.

“SAPR awareness is extremely important, because if an individual is sexually assaulted, knowing that there is a resource out there to assist them can have a big impact on their life,” said U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Margaret Thomas, 51st Fighter Wing deputy sexual assault response coordinator.

One resource available to those assaulted are volunteer victim advocates. Victim advocates are active-duty military members certified by the DoD Sexual Assault Advocate Certification Program. They are selected by the installation's sexual assault response coordinator to provide essential support, liaison services and care to victims.

“Our volunteer victim advocates are a huge resource for the SAPR program,” said Beecher. “If Airmen are interested in assisting the program, becoming a credentialed victim advocate is a great step in becoming involved in the SAPR program.”

The SAPR 24/7 hotline, manned by credentialed victim advocates, can be reached at 0505-784-7272. For those interested in becoming a victim advocate, contact the SAPR office 0505-784-7272.

Photo Caption:

Shirts from the Clothesline Project hang outside of the Base Exchange at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea on April 06, 2018. The Clothesline Project is a visual display of shirts with messages and illustrations that were designed by victims of sexual assault or by someone who has lost a loved one due to violence. The purpose of the project is to increase awareness of the violence sexual assault creates and to celebrate the strength of those that survived.

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