HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
Base leaders are calling attention to the month-long observance by raising public awareness about sexual violence and how to prevent it throughout the community.
“Sexual Violence is about an offender exerting power and control over someone else, and it’s never the victim’s fault,” said Col. Katrina Stephens, installation commander, in a pre-recorded video message to the base.
The Hanscom Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office provides services and support to military members, adult dependents, and Department of the Air Force civilian employees who are victims of sexual assault.
“The SAPR team is here to support victims and survivors through their recovery by building trust and strengthening resiliency,” said Jersouk Touy, installation sexual assault response coordinator.
The SAPR office can be reached 24/7 at 781-225-7272 for calls, emergency or not, and reports.
Other supporting agencies, such as the Family Advocacy Program, the Chapel and the 66th Medical Squadron Mental Health office, are available to assist survivors.
SAPR officials will host a virtual presentation April 8 via Zoom with guest speaker Jeffrey Bucholtz, director of We End Violence, who will discuss the challenges of culture change as it relates to sexual assault and the normalization of victim blaming.
Personnel can participate via ZoomGov meeting ID 161 556 7896 and passcode 069327.
“Each survivor copes with their experiences differently,” said Chief Master Sgt. Bill Hebb, installation command chief, in the same pre-recorded video message to the Hanscom community. “There is no right way for a survivor to feel or act, and no set timeline for when they should recover from trauma.”
Stephens called sexual violence a threat to the Hanscom mission, and challenged all members of the base community to take a stand for prevention.
“Sexual violence destroys our unit cohesion, threatens our readiness, and erodes the trust that makes our military strong and effective,” she said. “Everyone has a role in making their community safer by challenging sexual aggression.”