CAMP HENRY, South Korea - "It will take more than a month to eradicate this cancer from our ranks, it will take a concentrated effort from all of us to confront this and we must stand strong together. This is about trust, dignity, leadership, and accountability; we all own this problem," said the commander of the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, Brig. Gen. Stephen E. Farmen.
The cancer to which he referred is sexual assault and harassment.
The general, along with the commander of U.S. Army Garrison Daegu, Col. Jim M. Bradford, and Lt. Col. Fredrick L. Barber, Bulk Petroleum and Water Branch Chief, Support Operations, 19th ESC, were the keynote speakers at the proclamation signing ceremony to kick off Sexual Assault Awareness Month, observed in April.
Leaders of Area IV took the opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to eliminating the crime of sexual assault, supporting victims, and intervening to help stop unsafe and unprofessional behavior in our community and in our military.
This year's theme is "Speak up! A voice unheard is an Army defeated."
Bradford stressed the important role everyone in the community plays to changing the culture that enables sexual violence.
"Each of us can take action in our areas and we know that breaking the silence surrounding sexual assault is the key to awareness, prevention and eradication," he said.
During the ceremony, Lucy Rodriguez, 403rd Army Field Support Brigade Victim Advocate, read a survivor poem that told the compelling story of a victim of sexual assault while Barber's words of inspiration lay emphasis on having respect for each other a taking care of .
"As a community, as soldiers, as leaders, we have to have the personal courage to speak up for those that may not be able to speak for themselves," said Barber.
Farmen reiterated the Army values as the foundation of combating sexual assault and reminded us all that we are obligated to stand strong and speak up.