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NEWS | April 3, 2013

JBLE brings awareness during SAAM

By Airman 1st Class Kimberly Nagle 633 Air Base Wing Public Affairs

With the ongoing problem of sexual violence present in all branches of the military, it's important for Service members to take measures to prevent such acts.

In the United States, the month of April has been designated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Joint Base Langley-Eustis agencies are arranging events as part of the SAAM campaign to help bring awareness to sexual violence.

"We take this opportunity to call attention to sexual violence and band together to rebuke those who violate the trust and sanctity of our communities," said Bernadette Hardy, Langley Sexual Assault Prevention and Response coordinator. "We also take this time to show solidarity and support to the victims of these horrible acts."

In fiscal year 2011, the Department of Defense reported incidents of more than 3,100 victims of sexual assault, said Megan Alpert, 733rd Mission Support Group installation sexual assault victim advocate.

"Becoming more aware of sexual violence begins an important conversation about the attitudes and underpinnings which continue to allow sexual assault to occur not only in our military, but also within our society as a whole," said Alpert. "Supporting SAAM events is just the first step in the fight against sexual assault; our events aim to educate and engage the community in discussing and preventing sexual violence in the future and treating victims with the dignity, fairness and respect."

In addition to the impact sexual assault has on victims, one of the most crucial repercussions of sexual assault is the effect it has on the military mission, said Hardy.

"Sexual violence affects the overall mission by dividing the force," said Hardy. "Violence changes not only the victim, it changes all involved [in the incident]."

In order to combat sexual violence through awareness, JBLE sexual assault prevention professionals have planned a number of events, including Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, a 5k Fun Run/Walk and poetry slam.

"Community members get to learn [about sexual assault] by talking with victim advocates, learn how to protect themselves via personal safety/self-defense classes and show support in rallies and marches on and off base," said Hardy. "Our outreach events are designed to bring awareness, get people talking and bring the occurrence of such life-altering events out from the shadows."

While these events help bring community awareness, Hardy said the responsibility to prevent sexual violence is ultimately in everyone's hands.

"Prevention is everyone's duty," said Hardy. "It takes us all to make certain that our community is safe and good place to be."

Fort Eustis
April 10: Walk a Mile in Her Shoes at Eustis Exchange.
April 19: 5K Run/Walk, hosted by the 93rd Signal Brigade.
April 20: SHARP Madness 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament at Anderson Field House, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
April 25: Information Table at the Fort Eustis Club, during lunch hours.
April 30: Sexual Assault Awareness Capstone Event at 10 a.m. in Jacobs Theater.

April 1, 15, 22 & 29: Women's Personal Safety Classes, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Shellbank Gym.
April 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29: Command Chief Master Sgt. King will speak at "Meet Your Victim Advocate" from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Langley Commissary.
April 4, 11, 18 & 25: "Meet Your Victim Advocate" from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Langley Base Exchange.
April 11: Men's Personal Safety Class from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the ACC Gym
April 13: Walk A Mile in her Shoes at 10 a.m. at the Peninsula Town Center (community outreach collaboration).
April 18: Take back the Night from 6 to 8 p.m. in City Center (community outreach collaboration).
April 26: STAR Road Rally from 7:30 a.m. to noon at the JBLE Memorial Park.
April 26: Poetry Slam at 1 p.m. at the JBLE Memorial Park.
April 1-26: Travelling "Sole" Survivor/Silhouette