April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and Fort Belvoir will begin a month of prevention and awareness activities today during a Kickoff and Proclamation Signing event at 10 a.m. at the Fort Belvoir Community Center.

All community members are invited to attend.

The purpose of the kickoff is "to get people to recommit to preventing sexual assault," said Tasha Venters, Fort Belvoir installation sexual assault response coordinator.

According to the Army's SHARP website, the theme for SAAM this year is "Speak Up! A voice unheard is an Army defeated."

During the event, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey J. Snow, director of the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, will give remarks on the importance of SAAM and community prevention efforts.

Local officials and special guests will also sign proclamations announcing April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month and pledging to focus on sexual assault prevention.

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan, commanding general for the Joint Force Headquarters -- National Capital Region and U.S. Army Military District of Washington will attend to sign the MDW proclamation and Lt. Col. Brian Zarchin, Fort Belvoir Headquarters Battalion commander, will sign the Fort Belvoir proclamation.

Venters encouraged community members to make sexual assault prevention a priority this month.

"I think sometimes it's easy to forget that sexual assault does happen in our community and that it is happening here at Fort Belvoir," she said. "This reminds the community that it does happen but that everybody plays an important role in preventing it."

This year, the Fort Belvoir Sexual Harrassment/Assault Response and Prevention Office will host new SAAM events each week in April.

SAAM events

• April 8: 1st Information Operations Command Strike Out Bowling Event at the Bowling Center, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

• April 11: Monika Korra, a sexual assault survivor, will share her story during a special event called "Breaking the Silence" at 9:30 a.m. at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall's Conmy Hall, hosted by the Joint Forces Headquarters National Capital Region and Military District of Washington SHARP program. The Fort Belvoir SHARP Office will provide transportation for Fort Belvoir community members to the event. For more information, call the MDW SHARP Program Manager at (571) 305-0010.

• April 16: SHARP information table on SAAM at the Fort Belvoir Exchange, 5-7 p.m.

• April 19: SHARP information table on SAAM at the Fort Belvoir Commissary, 9-11 a.m.

• April 22: "Got Your Back" bystander intervention training at 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Wood Theater. The training is an interactive lecture that uses audience participation to discuss ways to stop sexual violence before it happens, hosted by Northern Regional Medical Command and provided by the Headquarters Department of the Army SHARP Program Office and Catharsis Productions.

• April 24: SAAM 6th Annual 5K Run at 7 a.m. at 14th Street and Middleton Road. Registration begins at 6:30 a.m. The run is open to Soldiers, Family members and civilian employees.

• April 30: Safe Dates for Teens class, 4:30 p.m. at the Teen Youth Center, hosted by Child, Youth and School Services, in conjunction with SHARP.

The class uses the "Safe Dates" curriculum to help teens focus on what dating means to them, what healthy relationships look like and what abuse, coercion and consent look like, as well as how their ideas about dating and sex are influenced by the media, Venters said.

• Thursdays in April, community members are encouraged to wear teal to support SAAM.

For more information on Fort Belvoir SAAM events, call the Fort Belvoir SHARP Office at (703) 805-4352/4722.

For more information on Sexual Assault Awareness Month, visit www.preventsexualassault.army.mil.

Page last updated Fri April 4th, 2014 at 00:00