Sexual assault awareness protects Airmen, mission

  • Published
  • By Cindy Ybanez
  • Sexual Assault Response Coordinator
"Protecting Airmen Protects the Mission” is the Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2017 theme.

In keeping with the theme, The Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Program office here is partnering with Team Eglin throughout April, to bring awareness to Sexual Assault Awareness Month and make “Eliminating Sexual Assault in the Air Force” our number one mission.

The recent Marine Corps social media scandal involved many members of varying rank and positions.  Posting sexually explicit pictures on social media also degrades individuals and is unacceptable.

We want to ensure each leader has the information needed to provide comprehensive and relevant training.

Let’s look at what sexual assault is and the consequences to an offender, a victim and mission readiness.

Sexual assault is any unwelcome sexual contact, characterized by use of force; physical threat; abuse of authority, or when the victim does not or cannot consent.  Sexual assault can occur without regard to gender, spousal relationship or age of the victim.

Sexual assault is an offense punishable under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice.  An offender can face UCMJ action, which can lead to a dishonorable discharge.  That affects any future career moves. 

Sexual assault can have a devastating impact on an individual if they’re away from their job to deal with the consequences, which can degrade a unit’s ability and capability to perform its mission.

The impact to a victim can be so severe it could take them time to get back into the routine they had before the assault, or they ultimately may have to leave the Air Force.

A supportive team that effectively responds to sexual assault is critical to the health, morale and welfare of Airmen, and essential to Air Force readiness.

The SAPR team is always on call to offer to support for victims of sexual assault.  We offer a multitude of services to military members and their dependents over the age of 18, and civilians employed here.

Anyone who knows of someone who needs our services are encouraged to call 882-2122 or accompany them to our office at 605 Inverness Road, Bldg. 605, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.  To report a sexual assault, call the hot line at 882-7272 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or (850) 240-3219.

Sexual assault prevention is critical at every level.  Eliminating sexual assault in the Air Force requires Airmen at all levels to be engaged all year, not just in April.