Raising awareness of sexual assault



by Donovan Jackson
Air University Public Affairs


4/12/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, AL  -- April is nationally recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, by both civilian and military communities. This year's theme for SAAM is "We own it...We solve it ... Together."

Recognizing SAAM is an opportunity for the entire Department of Defense community to underscore commitment to eliminating sexual assault, while supporting victims and intervening
when appropriate.

"SAAM is a very important month," said LaNesa Howard, sexual assault response coordinator for Maxwell. "In order for us to reduce and eventually stop sexual assaults, we have to recognize
that the problem still exists."

According to statistics from the DOD, there were 3,192 cases of sexual assault reported within all branches of the military in 2011.

"We are trying to combat those numbers," said Howard. "Our main goals are to provide compassionate and professional care to victims; to promote a culture that does not blame victims, yet holds offenders accountable; and educate the base regarding reporting options and services."

Howard defined sexual assault as an intentional sexual contact by use of force, physical threat or abuse of authority or when the victim does not consent.

"If something happens to you and you need help, please do not hesitate to call our 24-hour hotline at 953-8696. Our office is a safe place. We are here to help." For more information on sexual assault or to speak with someone at the SARC office call 953-4416 or 953-7116.

Upcoming Sexual Assault Awareness Month events

Taking a Stand Against Assaults -
 The event for spouses is April 23 and the event for Airmen is  April 30, both from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on the third floor of the clinic. These programs will consist of videos and speeches by various senior leaders and spouses. Information will be on display during clinic hours both days.

Poetry Slam and Talent Expo -
This event at 6:30 p.m. April 26 in building 803, Shelburne Hall, Air University Academic Facility, is designed to promote healing and surviving and raise awareness through poetry, songs, drama and step shows. There is to be no use of profanity or vulgarity.