Story and photos by Sgt. Philip Klein
4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office
Soldiers, Family members, and civilians of the Mountain Post are raising awareness of sexual assault prevention throughout the month of April, which is National and Department of Defense Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
The goal of Sexual Assault Awareness Month is to raise public awareness about sexual violence, said Sarah Falk, the Fort Carson Sexual Assault Response coordinator.
Sexual assault is the most underreported crime in society, she said. It can affect any individual, regardless of race, sex, origin or economic status.
Sexual assault is a crime that inflicts immeasurable harm on victims and their families, Falk said.
“The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program reinforces the Army’s commitment to eliminate incidents of sexual assault through a comprehensive policy that centers on awareness and prevention, training and education, victim advocacy, response, reporting and accountability,” said Falk. “Army policy promotes sensitive care and confidential reporting for victims of sexual assault and accountability for those who commit these crimes.”
During the month of awareness, Fort Carson is sponsoring several events including self-defense instruction from Master Sgt. Jose Colon,
Fort Carson and 4th Infantry Division Equal Opportunity noncommissioned officer in charge, at the Waller Physical Fitness Center, designed to provide people the skills needed to defend themselves from attacks and give them the time to escape harm.
The first class started April 7 and continues through the month of April, but Colon said he hopes to continue the course on a permanent basis.
Statistics show one out of four women will become a victim of a sexual assault, said Colon.
“Sexual predators are just that, predators, and these predators are cowards,” said Colon, who served as the primary instructor for the self defense course. “One of the ways to avoid becoming a victim is confidence.”
Colon explained that sexual predators are looking for an easy target to victimize, and, therefore, if an individual presents an air of self confidence then they will decrease the likelihood of becoming a victim.
“Self confidence is a beginning to defending yourself,” said Colon.
“At the end of the course, students will have enough knowledge to be able to fend off an attack and give them enough time to escape.”
“I am someone who cares about people and I want to see them develop the skills to prevent an attack,” said Colon. “With the knowledge we are providing, victims of attack can increase their chance of avoiding assault to 90-95 percent, and that has possibly just saved their lives.”
The second major event at Fort Carson to promote awareness of sexual assault prevention was a five-kilometer run, open to all identification cardholders in the Front Range community.
Approximately 500 Soldiers, civilians and Family members from across Fort Carson gathered at Ironhorse Park April 8 to participate in a the run for Sexual Assault Awareness sponsored by the Fort Carson Army Community Service Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program.
Falk said the run was an opportunity to bring the Mountain Post community together to provide increased awareness of sexual violence and to demonstrate
Fort Carson is serious about ending sexual assault.
“We want everyone to know that we have people and services in place to prevent sexual violence and to take care of our community in case sexual assault occurs,” said Falk.
The run was a great event to raise awareness and the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program is grateful for the full support of the command team and the Soldiers who participated she said.
“We had great weather and a huge turnout for the run, and it was great to have all the servicemembers out to support our program and each other,” said Falk.
In addition to the self defense course, Fort Carson will participate in the nationwide Denim Day, Thursday, as participants across the country wear denim to display solidarity with proponents of sexual assault awareness. The Fort Carson Post Exchange will host an Engaging Families program in the prevention of sexual assault April 29 from 3-7 p.m. For more information contact Army Community Service at 524-0912.