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Schriever aims to raise sexual assault awareness

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- This April, the Department of Defense observes the tenth annual Sexual Assault Awareness Month. In recognition of SAAM, Team Schriever is hosting events throughout the month to raise awareness about sexual assault and educate Airmen on ways to identify and end it. This year's them is, "Live our Values: Step up to Stop Sexual Assault."

"Sexual violence is a major public health, human rights and social justice issue," said Paula Krause, Schriever Sexual Assault Response Coordinator. "The aftermath of a sexual assault can be detrimental to a victim on many levels."

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, victims of sexual assault are three times more likely to suffer from depression, six times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol, 26 times more likely to abuse drugs and four times more likely to contemplate suicide.

The problem is more common than most people believe. The U.S. Department of Justice's National Crime Victimization Survey indicated that someone in the United States is sexually assaulted every two minutes.

And, the Air Force is not immune to the issue. In 2010 the Air Force commissioned its own Gallup poll to determine the prevalence of sexual assault throughout the Air Force.

According to the report 18.9 percent of women and 2.1 percent of men reported having experienced some form of sexual assault while in the Air Force.

Also, most Air Force victims reported that their perpetrators were in the military and that they were more likely to be an acquaintance peer or friend.

"All of us have a role in building safe, healthy relationships and communities," said Col. Bill Rittershaus, 50 SW vice commander. "I strongly encourage everyone to make a concerted effort to increase your personal knowledge, stand up and speak out against sexual assault and let those around you know that you will not tolerate it or an offensive environment that enables sexual harassment and assault. Your personal efforts will have long-term effects."

To energize the Schriever community to begin "Stepping up to Stop Sexual Assault," Sexual Assault Awareness Month will kick off at Schriever on April 4 with a SAAM 5K color run and children's color run. Participants will receive a free t-shirt and children will get a free superhero cape. Runners are encouraged to dress up in fun colors. A SAAM dodgeball tournament will also take place April 18 at the fitness center. To sign up, call 567-6628.

Additionally, there will be Silent Victim Displays exhibited throughout Schriever during SAAM.

"Take a moment to read the stories of Schriever victims who were brave enough to share in the hopes of increasing awareness regarding this devastating crime," Krause said. "SARC information tables will be set up weekly throughout April at various locations including the Satellite Dish dining facility and the fitness center. During SAAM your leadership will be walking around engaging members in discussion about the continuum of harm and the impact it has on the units. April's activities will lead up to a SAPR Stand Down Day in May."

For more information, visit the Department of Defense website at www.sapr.mil. To report a sexual assault contact the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator 24/7 Hotline 567-SARC (7272).
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