News>Liberty Wing takes stand against sexual assault
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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month The 48th Fighter Wing Sexual Assault Prevent and Response Program is hosting a variety of events through April to raise awareness and prevent sexual assault.
ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- If a friend told you he was sexually assaulted, would you know what to do? Know your resources. Contact the RAF Lakenheath Sexual Assault Response Coordinator office at 226-3765 or the hotline at 226-SARC (7272). If you tell anyone who subsequently notifies command or if someone observes the assault and notifies command, an investigation is launched. You may lose restricted reporting. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Lee A. Osberry Jr.)
ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England - Col. William Lewis, 48th Fighter Wing vice commander, speaks about supporting victims of sexual assault during Sexual Assault Awareness Month on April 4. A birch tree was planted in Peace Keeper Park in honor of 48th Fighter Wing sexual assault survivors. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Cory Payne)
ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England - Members of the 48th Fighter Wing came out to a tree planting ceremony supporting victims of sexual assault during Sexual Assault Awareness Month on April 4. A birch tree was planted in Peace Keeper Park in honor of 48th FW sexual assault survivors. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Cory Payne)
by Staff Sgt. R. Stephen Linch
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
4/7/2011 - ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- The statistics are staggering.
"One in four women and one in six men will be a victim of sexual assault in their military career," said Staff Sgt. Sarah Bowser, 48th Fighter Wing Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program NCO in charge, citing recent studies on sexual assault in the military.
The 48th FW SAPR program is hosting a variety of events in April, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, with a clear goal - prevent sexual assault.
"One incident of sexual assault or harassment is too many, and the Liberty Wing will not let this be something that affects our Airmen," said Col. William Lewis, 48th FW vice commander. "The SARC (Sexual Assault Response Coordinator) is putting an incredible emphasis on the importance of this program and Airmen taking care of Airmen. April will be a time of education and intervention. We intend to breed a culture of non-acceptance for Liberty Airmen that will hopefully follow them from this assignment to the next."
RAF Lakenheath kicked off Sexual Assault Awareness Month by planting a tree in Peace Keeper Park in honor of 48th FW sexual assault survivors on April 4, 2011. The 48th FW SAPR program will also host classes, a booth at the base exchange from April 11-15, and several other events to raise awareness throughout the rest of the month.
These events at the Liberty Wing are only part of a larger picture.
The Department of Defense theme for the month is "Hurts one. Affects all," which is designed to point out how sexual assault affects not only the victim, but entire units. The Air Force's slogan supporting the DoD theme is "Real Wingmen Act!" emphasizing the duty of all Airmen to intervene whenever they see questionable behavior.
"The Air Force is committed to caring for victims of sexual assault, and I can think of no better way to demonstrate that commitment than turning all of our resources and attention to prevention. A single sexual assault is one too many," said Col. John Quintas, 48th Fighter Wing commander. "But the battle to eliminate sexual assault in our Air Force will take active participation by every Airman. We must create a culture that not only will not tolerate the entire spectrum of harm, but more importantly is willing to actively engage in its prevention. Every Airmen must ACT to stop it - that is the only way we are going to win this battle.
"We must protect our own. Doing nothing is not an option. Our Airmen and mission are too important not to intervene," he added.
The Air Force started the SAPR program in 2005 to educate military members and to provide support for victims around the clock.