Joint Base Andrews


JBA raises sexual assault awareness, prevention

By Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez | 11th Wing Public Affairs | April 17, 2017

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- Base leaders and community members gathered for the Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month kick-off and proclamation signing April 6, 2017, at Joint Base Andrews.

SAAPM is recognized every April to raise cognizance about sexual harassment and violence, and inform military members how to prevent it.

“This month is dedicated to providing awareness and educating our installation members, not only about services and resources the Air Force provides, but the fact that [sexual assault] is a real issue in the military,” said Kari Merski, 11th Wing Sexual Assault Response Coordinator.

The month is focused on prevention, caring for victims, and taking appropriate action against people who commit these offenses.

“This year’s Department of Defense theme is ‘Protecting Our People, Protects Our Mission,’” said Merski. “Everyone can make a personal commitment in regards to this theme since most of us want to care for our fellow comrades and defend our mission.”

“Walk in My Boots” was the second event held on April 7, 2017, which led participants from agency-to-agency in a path similar to what a survivor would take after reporting a sexual assault.

“We hope to have impacted members about the courage it takes for a survivor to report,” said Maria Lee, JBA victim advocate. “With reporting they have to deal with the incident over and over again telling their experience not only to one person, but to multiple others in order to get the help they need.”

The participants began at the base Sexual Assault Prevention Response Office and stopped at different points along the path to obtain knowledge about the process.

The event hosted a banner signing for people who want to make a pledge toward preventing sexual assault.

Throughout the month, there are multiple events planned to raise awareness on the issue of sexual assault.

Teal Tuesdays will occur every Tuesday in April, allowing military members to wear teal t-shirts as part of their utility uniform within the confines of the base.

A Strikeout Sexual Assault Softball Challenge at the JBA West Side Fitness Center Softball Fields is scheduled for April 28, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Base members are welcome to stop by and watch JBA personnel compete, as well as raise awareness during the final SAAPM event.

“The SAPR office highly encourages everyone in the community to take part in our SAAPM events,” said Lee. “By taking part in the awareness events not only do we highlight that we, as a community, can change the culture of sexual harassment and assault being non-tolerated, but we also support our survivors' journey from reporting to thriving.”

For more information, contact the SAPR office at (301) 981-1443. To report a sexual assault, call the SARC 24-hour hotline at (301) 981-7272.
proclamation signing protecting our people protects our mission SAAM SAAPM SAPR SARC Sexual Assualt Awareness and Prevention Month Strikeout sexual assault softball challenge Teal Tuesday walk in my boots