HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass., – The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office program manager here swore in as an appointee to the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence at the Massachusetts State House in Boston Jan. 29.
Jersouk Touy and other council members advise the governor on how to help individuals, children and families of the Commonwealth live a life free of domestic violence and sexual assault.
“We’re working to bridge the gap in resources between military and civilian response forces,” said Touy.
After reaffirming in 2019, the council identified new priority areas and created accompanying subcommittees to improve prevention and response to veterans, military members and their families, where status can determine eligibility for resources.
“A disabled veteran receives different resources than a retiree, and vice versa,” she said. “I want to help expand resources across the board.”
Touy, who previously served as the sexual assault prevention coordinator for the Mass. National Guard, hopes to integrate Hanscom into the standard process for victim outreach in the surrounding communities.
If an incident occurs in the city, a representative from the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center receives an automatic notification to support the victim regardless of any military affiliation, said Touy. However, the victim may not know if they qualify for military support benefits.
“If something happens off base, our team may not be in the know,” she said. “I’d like us to be a part of the automatic process so we can make sure everyone is getting the help they need.”
In her newly appointed role, Touy said she looks forward to continuing the conversation on creating a safer community for both veterans and civilians.
“This is a great opportunity to help better the system,” she said. “I’m excited to be in position where I can help effect change.”