‘Take a Stand’ focusing on awareness, prevention
April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, a time where civilians and military communities come together to raise awareness of efforts to prevent and respond to sexual assault and to support survivors. This month also reinforces the mindset that all members of the Army Team are empowered and have the responsibility to address sexual assault, sexual harassment, retaliation and the behaviors that lead to such indiscipline. SAAPM is an opportunity for the Army’s leadership to demonstrate to Soldiers, Department of the Army Civilians and Family members that prevention of sexual assault/harassment remains a top priority for the Army.
“I charge our leaders to reexamine command policies and sexual harassment/assault and prevention action plans to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our personnel. Our leaders are key in creating a culture that is free of sexual violence by setting, enforcing, and exemplifying standards of discipline,” said Col. Anthony C. Comello, deputy commander, 35th TTSB. “Each service member and Department of the Army civilian, regardless of rank, must know, understand and adhere to service values and standards of behavior in order to eliminate sexual assault and other inappropriate behavior. Addressing sexual harassment in a unit is an important step to preventing sexual assaults, since many victims of sexual harassment, especially men, later experience a sexual assault. Understanding how to recognize opportunities for intervention is vital to stopping unsafe behavior, to include any form of retaliation.
This year the Army has decided to stay with the theme “Sexual Assault. Sexual Harassment. “Not in Our Army.”
“Prevention is important,” said Sandra E. Butler, brigade Victim Advocate. “We want to take a proactive approach to the problem of sexual assault and sexual harassment. And, prevention starts with making people aware of the terms. Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or nonverbal and or physical contact that interferes with a person’s ability to perform his duties. Sexual assault is intentional sexual contact characterized by use of force, physical threat or abuse of authority, or when a victim does not or cannot consent.”
“ 35th Signal Brigade” strongly supports the dedicated efforts of our team members who are actively engaged in the prevention, awareness and response efforts surrounding sexual violence,” said Sgt. 1st Class Nancy M. Barnes, 35th TTSB Sexual Assault Response Coordinator. “The goal of the region, and the Army, is to end sexual violence. If we continue to work towards that goal, it may be attainable.”
By taking part in SAAPM activities, the Army demonstrates its commitment to cultivating a culture focused on trust, dignity and respect that reaffirms the Army’s reputation as a mission-ready, values-based organization.