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News > Air Force leaders target sexual assault in latest ‘Letter to Airmen’
Air Force leaders target sexual assault in latest ‘Letter to Airmen’

Posted 11/20/2012   Updated 11/20/2012 Email story   Print story


11/20/2012 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley, Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Mark A. Welsh III and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy issued a tri-signature "Letter to Airmen" Nov. 16.

Fellow Airmen:

There is only one way to say this...there is no place for sexual assault in our Air Force. When it comes to combating this challenge, every Airman is either part of the solution or part of the problem. We must be united in our commitment to intervene when we see the potential for harm, to act affirmatively when we observe tolerance of sexist behavior and attitudes, and to provide victim care. The only way to stop sexual assault is for Airmen to take action.

Our Total Air Force succeeds because of the professionalism and discipline of our Airmen. When a fellow Airman is sexually harassed or assaulted, it is devastating to the individual and the unit. It harms our friends and diminishes the bond among Airmen. It demoralizes families and communities and severely degrades our mission.

Sexual assault is a crime. Failure to act when any of us has the opportunity to prevent a potential assault or stop a cycle of unprofessional behavior is incompatible with our core values. Last year, over 600 Airmen reported being sexually assaulted. This year, we anticipate over 700 cases; but the actual number may be much higher because many victims do not report sexual assaults. A 2010 Gallup poll of our Airmen found that 19 percent of female Airmen and two percent of male Airmen were victims of sexual assault since joining the Air Force. More alarming is that most of these crimes were committed by fellow Airmen - Blue on Blue. This is unacceptable.

We must drive sexual assault from our ranks. You are a big part of the solution. Become personally involved. Recommit yourself to our core values. Be an advocate for professionalism and discipline. Let you fellow Airmen know you will not tolerate or support others who believe sexual assault is somehow acceptable - because it is not. Most importantly, if you are aware of sexual assault in your unit, report it.

Sexual assault has no place in our Air Force, yet is continues to degrade our mission and harm our Airmen. We need your help to firmly reestablish our culture of respect. We cherish our core values of Integrity, Service and Excellence. To ensure that all Airmen experience and benefit from those values, we must work together to eliminate sexual assault from our ranks. You must be part of the solution!

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