By Brian Hagberg
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
Team Schriever members leaving the portals late at night might find themselves doing a double take during the month of April.
That’s because the Schriever Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program is bringing back the mannequins representing victims of sexual assault who are, or have been, stationed at Schriever Air Force Base as part of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
“One of the things the wing commander and I talked about was wanting to show the impact [of sexual assault] at Schriever,” said Paula Krause, Schriever sexual assault response coordinator. “We wanted people to realize we do have victims here. These stories can happen to you and they have happened to people you might see every day.”
Krause said the SAPR office came up with the mannequin idea after attending a summit in Washington, D.C. where she and the wing commander spoke to SARCs from other bases. Following the summit, the office was challenged to come up with a display that would combine both visual and local impact.
“They do the silent witness march downtown [Colorado Springs] for domestic violence and sexual assault awareness, and we thought we could do something similar,” Krause said. “We knew the fitness center had two mannequins. We were able to get three more, and we decided to have each mannequin represent a different victim.”
In addition to the victim stories, which are on a placard hung around the mannequin’s neck, each display will also include a poster containing either statistics or popular “rape myths” to give people more information.
“I think what hit people most was the awareness that sexual assault happens here,” said Cecilia Smith, sexual assault victim advocate. “We had people come back and tell us that they read the mannequin and said, ‘I didn’t know.’ I think the biggest imprint the mannequins have left on people is that sexual assault happens [everywhere].”
Krause said one of the reasons they include both the victim story and the statistics or myths is to reach people in whatever way they can. The mannequins are a way to grab people’s attention, the accompanying information raises awareness.
“We hit it from different areas,” Krause said. “Whether it’s the stats that make people stop and think, whether it’s the rape myths or whether it’s the victim’s stories, we’re hoping we can [raise awareness] from different angles.”
One way they are doing that is by using male mannequins to challenge the belief that men can’t be victims.
“Colorado Springs actually has a disproportionately high number of male victims compared to other areas,” Krause said. “The rape myths really challenge the thought process that men can’t be victims.”
Smith said the mannequins also serve as an “in your face” reminder that sexual assault can happen anywhere, to anyone.
“Take a moment to read the victim stories, take a moment to read the signs next to the mannequins,” Krause said. “If you have any questions or concerns, or need to talk after you’ve read something and need to process it, we’re here for you.”
For more information, contact the SAPR office at 567-7634.