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Awareness, prevention presentations offered

  • Published
  • By Kevin Gaddie
  • Team Eglin Public Affairs

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - . The Sexual Assault and Prevention Response Office hosted presentations on sexual assault issues here April 18-19, to increase awareness about the subject in the Eglin community.

The presentations were part of the base’s Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month events.

Myra Strand, a certified trainer and presenter on sexual assault issues, gave three-part presentations in one-hour periods, over two days.  Base leadership and community members gained insight from the presentations and participated in discussions about “The psychological response to sexual assault,” “Male victimization” and “The role of alcohol in sexual assault incidents.”

Strand cited key points during her presentations.

“A disproportionate number of people who experience trauma in their lives, as children or as adults, join the military,” she said. “A lot of trauma already walks in the door from enlistment.  That’s something we need to be aware of if we’re truly going to understand what is behind our service members’ behaviors, choices and decision-making.”

She also discussed the impact of physical trauma.

“Physical trauma can have long-term effects to the brain and the body,” she said.  “There are a lot of misconceptions about how people handle trauma, and their response to it.  We don’t often give people enough time for their brains to reset after a traumatic situation.  We have to be more aware of that.”

Strand said she feels the military is effective in its ongoing efforts in helping service members deal with trauma and victimization.  

“To maintain mission readiness, it’s absolutely essential for the military to have avenues in place to help their people transcend trauma,” she said.  “It’s up to leadership and peers to understand when a person is in pain, and create a culture that allows a person to heal out of their painful situation.” 

Taking a perspective of self-care that stops at the body is not enough, according to Strand. 

“Just as the military is focused on physical readiness, health and training, there should also be a focus on mental readiness, health and training,” she said. 

Lauren Barboza, Eglin’s Sexual Assault and Response Coordinator, said Strand’s presentations were well received.

“Ms. Strand’s presentations were beneficial and the feedback was positive,” she said.  “The Eglin community got the opportunity to participate in discussions about sexual assault trauma, from a non-militaristic training perspective.  The event was an interactive 48 hours of presentations and discussions.”