Prevention program emphasizes one violent act is too many

  • Published
  • By Mark Wyatt
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Base officials recently began using a new Violence Prevention Program for training members of the workforce here.

At the core of this Air Force-wide initiative are prevention strategies from the Sexual Assault Prevention Response Program and the Suicide Prevention Program.

“The primary goal of this training is to create a culture of dignity, respect and connectedness,” said Sonju Bucci, 66th Air Base Group violence prevention integrator. “One suicide, one sexual assault or one instance of violence is one too many.”

Bucci added that the program integrates concepts from the former Green Dot training, as well as aspects of the sexual assault, suicide and harassment prevention training into one interactive session for all members of the workforce.

Hanscom’s locally-tailored violence prevention effort focuses on training modules provided by the Air Force.

“The Air Force provided a toolbox that I used to create the curriculum from data that was collected from the DEOCS [Defense Equal Opportunity Climate Survey], Community Feedback Tool, Equal Opportunity Office and SAPR Office,” Bucci said.

Sessions include a 60-minute Multi-Issue Sexual Assault and Suicide Prevention Training; 90-minute Initial Bystander Training; and 90-minute Leadership Training.

“People attending the training can expect to see more participation exercises,” said Bucci.

The program uses a cadre of implementers to train members of the Hanscom workforce.

“For most of us, we just want a safe and secure environment to work in and to let predators know they are not welcome,” said Brent Whitby, one of the program’s instructors.

Whitby, who has taught prevention-related training since 2004 while on active duty and now as a federal civilian, discussed why he stays involved.

“When I was a technical school instructor, one of my former students took his own life two years after graduating,” he said. “This issue is very personal to me.”

Another Hanscom instructor, Elizabeth Rosa, who has been involved in training Hanscom personnel on prevention methods for nearly four years, highlighted the importance of prevention training.

“When positive behaviors become the norm and we don’t have to worry about workplace bullying, relationship violence and suicide any longer, then there won’t be a need [for this training],” said Rosa. “Until then, it’s important to remind people that it’s our duty to be good wingmen, wingwomen and support our co-workers and Air Force family.”

For many of the volunteer instructors, the goal is to make a difference in their communities.

“I want to be part of the solution,” Whitby said. “If I can help end the cycle of violence by teaching strategies to mitigate interpersonal violence, then I will feel like I made a difference.”

Chris Roach, an implementer for more than two years, said, “no one should feel alone within our Hanscom community.”

“Taking action when we notice the early and immediate risk factors of suicide is a delicate matter,” he added. “Everyone should have someone they feel that they can lean on.”

Bucci highlighted that the program’s early success is because of these volunteers.

“We have so many dedicated individuals at Hanscom who are true wingmen,” she said. “These individuals are continuously looking out for the welfare of those around them. They are proactively creating a culture where violence does not occur and we all feel safe.”

For further information about the training, contact Bucci at 781-225-4033 or by email at