MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --
Leadership from Maxwell and the River Region joined together here April 3, 2018, to reinforce the message that sexual assault is not tolerated in any community.
Since 2001, April has been designated as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month and the first Tuesday of the month, is the “National Day of Action.”
“This year we are working even harder on how we can stop victim blaming and rape culture,” said LaNesa Howard, base Sexual Assault Response Coordinator. “We want people to start talking about how they can embrace their voice; we want to teach people their voice has power and how you talk about sexual assault makes a difference.”
Lt. Gen. Anthony Cotton, Air University commander and president, and Col. Eric Shafa, 42nd Air Base Wing commander, were both in attendance at the kick-off event.
Local leaders also attended, including Todd Strange, Mayor of Montgomery, John Hammock, Mayor of Tallassee, and Margaret White, Mayor of Elmore
The event began when everyone stood for the national anthem and an invocation by Lt. Col. Scott Nupson, 42nd Air Base Wing chaplain. They were asked to remain standing for an additional 60 seconds in silence for the victims of sexual assault and to think about the seriousness of this crime.
“We stood in silence for 60 seconds; I was counting,” Strange said. “That’s a long time when you’re standing quietly and still, but it’s a longer time if you’re a victim of sexual assault, because that lasts a lifetime,”
During his speech, Strange announced that Montgomery has had close to 12,000 sexual assault cases, but the rate has decreased by 32 percent.
He ended his speech by saying, “If you’re out there and you see something, say something.”
Each of the leaders signed a proclamation, declaring April as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month and to provide quality services and assistance to victims and survivors.
Cotton said sexual assault falls well short of the wingman concept and defies our core values.
“This year’s theme is, ‘Protecting our People, Protects the Mission.’ Each of us has our role to play in protecting our fellow Airmen and citizens,” he said. “Our people are our most trusted assets, the mission doesn’t happen without the Airmen and Air Force civilians who do the hard work every day. Sexual Assault will not be tolerated.”
Shafa ended the event with closing remarks, saying the attendance of all the community leaders is a testament of how serious our leaders are about preventing and abolishing sexual assault.
To spread awareness of sexual assault and learn how to prevent it, the SARC office is hosting events all month long.
April 5, 2018 – Walk a Mile in My Shoes, Alabama State University 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
April 10, 2018 – Strike-Sexual Assault Bowl-a-thon, Maxwell Bowling Center 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
April 12, 2018 – Strike-Out-Sexual Assault Bowl-a-thon, Gunter Annex Bowling Center 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
April 13, 2018 – SAAPM Golf Tournament
April 20, 2018 – Take Back the Night, Frazer Church on Atlanta Highway, begins at 6 p.m.
April 27, 2018 – Wing Run