SAPR facilitator program: raising Airmen awareness from within
By Airman 1st Class David DanfordApril 28, 2014
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan - The facilitator program, a new sexual assault prevention and response training course drafted by Pacific Air Force, was recently introduced at Yokota Air Base. The five-day course for Airmen and Department of Defense civilian volunteers provides tools and techniques to spread awareness of SAPR within their squadrons.In response to feedback from Airmen, PACAF has determined that small group-based activities will be more effective in increasing sexual assault awareness.The training focuses on concepts such as bystander intervention, empathetic personalization and the transition from a victim-blame culture to one focused on the offender. By relating the potential victim to their loved ones, Airmen will be more inclined to take action when a scenario occurs. This also makes identifying those situations and the possible offenders easier, making it less likely for their negative behavior to fly under the radar.Tereasa Brown, 374th Airlift Wing sexual assault response coordinator, stated that the program would allow the facilitators to view the interactions between their co-workers in a different light and discern where correction is necessary."The open and honest discussion has made some people uncomfortable but it has also opened their eyes to what's acceptable and what's not," Brown said. "This training is a good start to changing the work environment in our military."While the facilitators are not trained as victim advocates or a SARC, they possess skills needed to inform Airmen of the SAPR program while remaining cognizant of the climate and culture of their units.The positive results of this training will be incorporated into future Air Force SAPR initiatives in a continued effort to remove sexual assault from the military.Exercises included the "reality walk," "does this sound like a noncommissioned officer?" and "invisible backpack," which all served to educate and bring attention to how sexual assault and sexual harassment, effects the Air Force and its Airmen."I hope to see a culture change where sexual innuendo in the office is not ok. Where, if someone is being made to feel uncomfortable, it's not ok. I want to see bystanders intervene," Brown said. "This training shows good initiative. This is the beginning of a new era."Tereasa Brown can be contacted at 225-7277 for more information on the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program. For more urgent assistance, call 225-7272, the SARC hotline.