Kaiserslautern first to host 'I. A.M. Strong' in Europe
January 12, 2009
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - Intervene, Act and Motivate stand for more than just the acronym in the Army's I. A.M. Strong campaign to combat sexual assaults and sexual harassment.
"These words mean that all Soldiers, from commanders to junior enlisted, (need to take such actions) to prevent sexual assaults from happening," said Megan Roberts, the U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern's sexual assault response coordinator.
Launched in November, I. A.M. Strong encourages communities to educate Soldiers in how they can become involved in stopping this crime.
More than 800 Soldiers attended briefings held by the garrison on Jan. 6 and 8 at the Galaxy Theater on Vogelweh.
"This (campaign) is exactly what the Army needs," said Capt. John Evans, the garrison's Headquarters, Headquarters Detachment commander, who attended the Jan. 8 briefing. "It gets to the root of the problem and asks Soldiers to help make a difference and to take a stand at their level where it counts the most."
Roberts said that Kaiserslautern is the first community in Europe to hold such briefings.
"We strongly support this initiative to reemphasize to our community members that sexual assault will not be tolerated," said Lt. Col. Mechelle Hale, the garrison's commander.
The number of reported sexual assaults in the Kaiserslautern military community dropped by seven in fiscal year 2008 from FY 2007, which had 19 reported cases, said Roberts, who noted there have been five cases reported this year.
But, "One is too many," echoed Hale, Evans and Roberts.
Although a big first step, these community briefings are just the beginning of I. A.M. Strong here, said Roberts, who has been the garrison's sexual assault response coordinator for about two years.
"In the past, we have been working on creating a good response system so that when a sexual assault does occur, we can react and go through the proper channels," said Roberts. "Now (through this program), we're moving into stopping assaults from even happening and teaching people about the risks factors and how to intervene when they do see trouble."
The garrison holds sexual assault review boards every month as part of its Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program, with community organizations - such as the Provost Marshal Office, Chaplain's Office, as well as mental health professionals and command leadership - attending to discuss prevention and response procedures in the KMC.