By Staff Sgt. Erica Picariello
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
April 1 marked the beginning of national Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Schriever’s sexual assault response coordinator is making sure to stay true to this year’s national motto, “it’s time… to get involved.”
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, this year’s campaign incorporates a bystander approach to sexual violence prevention. Research shows that engaging bystanders is a promising way to help prevent the widespread problem of sexual violence in communities.
The Air Force displayed their faith in the bystander approach by including Bystander Intervention Training in the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program requiring all AF personnel to complete the training by June 2012.
Paula Fraas, Schriever’s sexual assault response coordinator, tackled the goal head-on, putting Schriever on track to reach the training requirement 365 days in advance.
“Currently 91 percent of Schriever has completed their BIT,” Ms. Fraas said. “AF has mandated all personnel receive BIT by June 30, 2012, but Air Force Space Command has set the goal for all bases to be at 50 percent by June 30, 2011. The 50th Space Wing has declared Schriever will be at 100 percent by the end of June 2011, a year ahead of the AF’s mandate!”
Not only has the SAPR office aggressively attacked training requirements, but they’ve also put together a busy schedule of events for April to keep Airmen engaged in SAAM.
“For the month of April we have been setting up informational booths at the fitness center and dining facility weekly,” Ms. Fraas said. “We have brochures and pamphlets about the subject as well as fun give-aways. Every give-away has the SARC hotline number on it so the base population has the number convenient in case they ever need to call. We also co-hosted the dodgeball tournament and are co-hosting a 4-mile fun run today to promote SAAM.”
Though getting free prizes and playing games is fun, the purpose behind these SAPR office events is to provoke a sense of community and get Schriever members thinking about this sensitive issue.
“Events like dodgeball and the fun run are great opportunities for individuals to get involved, show support for an important subject and have some fun doing it,” Ms. Fraas said. “We tend to get too involved in our day-to-day lives and these types of events offer people a chance to look beyond their own four walls and become more aware of issues that affect our community.”
This month’s national SAAM campaign explains that getting involved helps to create environments where people are safe in their relationships, families, neighborhoods, schools, work places and communities, but the SARC hopes that this involvement will stretch beyond the month of April.
“My hope is that even after April the base community will continue to remember preventing sexual assault is everyone’s duty and I challenge all our Air Force members to take a stand and intervene in any situation that could lead to an assault,” said Ms. Fraas.