HOHENFELS, Germany -- In observance of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, (SAAM) hundreds of runners turned out in Hohenfels, recently, to help kick off a SAAM stand-down day with a 5K community awareness run.
SAAM is designed to raise awareness and promote the prevention of sexual assault through the use of special events and public education. Sexual assault is defined as any sexual act directed against another person that is forcible and/or against the person's will, to include when that person is unable to give consent.
Beginning as an awareness week in April, SAAM became a nationally recognized month in 2001 as organizations across the country hosted events and programs dedicated to educating the public and reaching out to survivors.
"We can't stand another day where people are violating other people's dignity and rights," said Command Sgt. Maj. Nicholas A. Rolling, Joint Multinational Readiness Center command sergeant major. "It's up to us to act, report, and understand so we can fix this problem in our organization."
Certificates and a $25 AAFES gift card were presented to the top male and female runners, Pfc. Kristopher Gorbea and Hyun Sun Reilly, respectively. A certificate was also given to the 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment for the unit with the most participation.
The rest of the day comprised small group training events, with senior leader discussions hosted by the JMRC command group and leader-led discussions throughout the various units.
Community members were encouraged to sign the SHARP pledge board which bore the Army's pledge against sexual assault and harassment.
"As a proud member of the United States Army, I pledge to be a force behind the fight to eliminate Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault from our community. I will have the personal courage to intervene - no matter the time or place. I will act decisively to stand up and protect my fellow Soldiers from all forms of sexually offensive and abusive behavior. I will be motivated by my army values to remain a constant force in the fight to protect my team!"
"The pledge represents our commitment to end sexual assault and sexual harassment in the Army and by signing this board, we're committing to embody that pledge and do what we can individually to end sexual assault and harassment," said Capt. Trinity Peterson, JMRC sexual assault response coordinator.
"If we can make a difference here in Hohenfels, we can make a difference in the Army," Peterson said.