Sexual Assault Awareness Month

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jesse Lopez
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
With mission readiness and effectiveness at the forefront of strengthening the Air Force, the eradication of sexual assault is a top priority. The Altus AFB Sexual Assault Prevention Response program is dedicated to eliminating sexual assault incidents through awareness and prevention training as well as education, victim advocacy, response, and reporting.

Sexual assault is criminal conduct that has been defined by some victims as the figurative murder of their human rights. These acts have burrowed within our service, desecrating the foundation of the wingman culture by corroding the respect for our fellow Airmen and core values.

"When someone is a victim of a sexual assault the mission halts to provide for the needs of that individual," said Cheryl Jones, 97th Air Mobility Wing Sexual Assault Response coordinator. "They aren't going to work as effectively or efficiently without receiving the proper care for their situation. That's why it's our job to ensure the community is educated with information vital to preventing sexual assault at every capacity and ultimately eliminate sexual assault."

Extensive time and effort is given to the recovery of a sexual assault victim which may cause a limitation from the accomplishment of the mission for those involved.

"Between healing their emotional scars, court time and developing a coping mechanism, their mission could go unfulfilled or cause the brunt of the work to be pushed to someone else. It's going to affect everyone around that individual in every way shape or form," Jones said.

According to Jones, the aid of victim advocates is one of the most essential tools to providing the care necessary for the victim's development.

"Victim advocates are responsible for meeting the needs of victims and ensuring their return to the work environment at 100 percent proficiency," Jones said.

Master Sgt. Susan Darby, 97th AMW command post superintendent, has been a victim advocate for seven years and is honored to provide help to victims in any way she possibly can.

"Although I haven't had many cases, the cases I have worked, made me feel as if I really helped that person in their time of need," Darby said.

With this and many outlets for sexual assault prevention Jones hopes to extinguish sexual assault for good.

"In an era where computers were once the size of an entire room, no one could have imagined it be possible for them fit on our laps today. So I know this goal is achievable and everyone must work towards its success," Jones said.