Hurts one, affects all

  • Published
  • By Dr. Thomas Appel-Schumacher
  • U.S. Air Forces in Europe Sexual Assault Response Coordinator
In relationships, sexual and otherwise, respect means listening and carefully considering the other's feelings and wants. Trust means there is confidence and the expectation that one person will not harm the other.

U.S. Air Forces in Europe bases are taking part in an awareness campaign in April for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This year's theme is "Hurts One. Affects All - Preventing sexual assault is everyone's duty." This message signifies the fact that sexual assault has far-reaching impact and will directly and indirectly affect everyone's ability to successfully complete USAFE's mission.

It's the seventh consecutive year that April has been designated for the campaign by DoD and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. This year the Air Force is launching its newest approach to prevention of this crime.

Bystander Intervention Training will teach in separate small groups (men only, women only, leaders only) at each installation how to intervene in social situations when it is apparent that a social interaction between two people is moving down the path of a potential sexual assault. When it looks like a dangerous situation is happening, we want bystanders to be aware that something is not right, be motivated to intervene in some way, and then to take a stand and do something.

Many Airmen do not yet understand how our mainstream contemporary culture is influencing how they think and how they pursue relationships. Stereotypes of women as inanimate sexual objects, and men only taking sexual conquests over women, are far from reality. Positive relationship building can only begin upon the foundation of respect and trust. Assaulting someone sexually follows values that are the exact opposite of those key concepts.

In Bystander Intervention Training, individual's myths and beliefs about sexual assault will be discussed and challenged. Facilitators will use input from the participants to illustrate issues and explain how intervention is the right thing to do.

USAFE leadership, both at the headquarters and across command installations, ask that Airmen be responsible Wingmen, not only in April but throughout their Air Force careers.

Without proper consent, sexual encounters can easily cross over a critical boundary and change from a consensual activity to one of a major crime. Use our strength to defend each others' respect, dignity, and to uphold the Air Force core values.

Events scheduled at Ramstein
April 1 Walk-A-Mile in Their shoes
April 4 Pancake Breakfast at the North-side Chapel
April 6 Sex Signals Presentations (Galaxy 0830 & 1030, Hercules 1330)
April 7 Sex Signals Presentations (Galaxy 0930, Hercules 1300 & 1500)
April 11 Information Booth at the KMCC (1100-1300)
April 13 Self Defense Class at Southside Gym Annex (All day)
April 15 Strike Out Sexual Assault Bowl-A-Thon (1100-1700)
April 18 Information Booth at the Coffee Shop (1100-1300)
April 20 Self Defense Class at Northside Annex Gym
April 22 Woman Monologue at 1400/Location is TBD
April 25 Information Booth at the Landstuhl Hospital (1100-1300)
April 28 Run for Congo Women
April 29 Army Sponsored Shine the Light Walk

Call your Ramstein SARC at 480-7272 for more information.