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Proclamation signing
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Col. Lester A. Weilacher, 66th Air Base Group commander, signs a proclamation in his office April 1 declaring April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Surrounding Weilacher are members of the SAAM committee and Tom Fredericks (right), 66th Air Base Group deputy director. (U.S. Air Force photo by Rick Berry)
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Why this month has meaning

Posted 4/4/2013   Updated 4/4/2013 Email story   Print story


Commentary by Andrea Mckie
Sexual Assault Response Coordinator

4/4/2013 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Recently I was asked why all this attention was being given to sexual assault prevention, and as I took a moment to think of the best response I could give, I realized no response would be adequate without talking about the survivors of sexual assault and rape.

There is not just one story to tell or one person living with the loss of whom he or she was the day before the assault, and who they became the day after it. As we tend to forget conversations we have had in our lives, it is important that some stories remain in our thoughts and we say: never again.

A year later, April has returned and I am reminded that awareness is another weapon against sexual assault. The symbols are everywhere and the person that now sees the teal ribbon understands its significance.

Maybe last year this emblem meant nothing at all. This year it may carry a new story that says it could never happen to me or it did happen to me. No matter where we find ourselves, the teal ribbon represents our efforts to remove from our ranks the possibility of sexual assault in the United States Air Force and society.

In this month of April, we will run races, shoot hoops and send a strike against sexual assault. We do this to make certain that the talk is not replaced by quiet intentions that often result in no change at all.

As you walk around the installation or attend the scheduled events, remember to take two minutes to tell someone why attention is being given to sexual assault prevention. Statistics suggests that every two minutes someone in the United States is sexually assaulted; your two minutes may prevent one.

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