By Senior Airman William Tracy
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — April marks Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, and Jessica Ditson, the 50th Space Wing’s new violence prevention integrator, is excited to embark on a communal effort to fulfill the month’s consistent theme of “Protecting our People Protects the Mission.”
“I really want to make sure people understand the value in the relationships they foster — I want to fine tune these relationships so they are as beneficial as possible,” Ditson said. “Most importantly, I want to model the behavior of a supportive community connection — simply take time to be kind to people and understand the perspective of others.”
Ditson said while she has big plans for the future, she is currently engaging in an effort to get a better feel for the Airmen of Team Schriever.
“The first step is performing unit needs assessments to find out what the commander’s need,” she said. “In my 21 years of being active duty and reserves, I’ve learned a lot of lessons. The biggest is sometimes you have to stay still and watch and listen to see what’s going on. You don’t want to come in with this big sweeping idea and not take into account the people involved.”
With a new VPI comes a new restructured violence prevention training. Ditson said this year there will be a less “scripted” format with a heavy focus of community awareness as well as more time for open discussion and individual input. Changes she believes are crucial to making a lasting impact on attendees.
“We infused a lot of our training, and stopped using a protocol which took up the entirety of the hour,” she said. “Instead, we left about 20 minutes to really focus on finding and fostering community for attendees and how to really build connections.”
However, Ditson said small, kind measures are just as important to improving morale.
“When was the last time you got a sticky note on your desk that said something other than call somebody, do or complete something? Instead, leave a note saying ‘you did an amazing job today,’” she said. “That’s an example of a small thing you can do. We always strive for excellence in all we do but sometimes we just need to be recognized for this excellence.”
Unchanging is the support of the 50th SW Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, which plans to host a variety of events in recognition of SAAPM alongside Ditson.
“This month is very crucial,” said Christina Martinez, 50th SW SAPR office sexual assault victim advocate. “It’s good to have this designated time to raise awareness.”
Martinez said she is excited to team up with Ditson to help Airmen throughout the base.
“People are the mission,” she said. “When we enlighten people and provide training for them to be better Airmen, it is very rewarding.”
Ditson agreed, adding she looks forward to making an impact not just for SAAPM, but for the entirety of her Schriever AFB tenure.
“We are all here to help you deal with life’s stressors so you don’t have to deal with them yourself,” she said. “Being able to help define what community is for people — defining that we are one big community, is important. However, creating a sense of community and connection means all of us reaching out and supporting one another.”
Upcoming Schriever AFB SAAPM events are as follows:
April 5, 12, 19 — Outreach table inside Satellite Dish Dining Facility
April 17 — (tentative date) Information Fair at the Child Development Center
April 26 — 9th Annual Dodgeball tournament in the fitness center
April 26 — Purple Up Parade at the Child Development Center
For those struggling with personal or professional life problems, the Schriever AFB helping agencies are there to support. To reach the helping agencies line, call 719-567-HELP. To reach out to Ditson, call 719-567-2647.