DETROIT ARSENAL, Mich. -- Two events will be held at the Detroit Arsenal during the month of April in observance of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. On Thursday, April 5, 2018, two viewings of "The Hunting Ground" will be offered at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

This is a documentary focusing on the current sexual assault epidemic. Last year, this was shown one time during SAAPM; it is highly recommended for individuals with teenagers or college-aged students. Each session will last for approximately one hour and no advanced registration is required.

On Thursday, April 12, 2018, U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command Chief of Staff Col. Jeffrey Witt will provide opening remarks for this SAAPM event. This year speakers will include Detective Jim Twardesky from the Warren Police Department and Gail Lippert from Turning Point in Mt. Clemens. Turning Point is a nonprofit organization which serves victims/survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

Both speakers will share relevant and helpful information related to sexual violence in our community. This event will begin at 1:00 p.m. in the Building 200 Auditorium at the Detroit Arsenal. No advanced registration is required; seating will be on a first come first served basis.

Twardesky has been in Law Enforcement for over 18 years and is currently a detective in the City of Warren Police Departments Special Victims Unit. He has investigated hundreds of sexual assaults including multiple serial offenders and previously unsolved cases. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice and a Master's Degree in Public Administration both from Wayne State University. He is also an instructor at both the Macomb Police Academy and Macomb Community college.

Lippert has been a Registered Nurse for over 25 years. She has been working with Turning Point's Forensic Nurse Examiner Program since its beginning in 1999. She accepted the position of Program Director of the Forensic Nurse Examiner Program in 2008. In addition to providing care to survivors of sexual assault, she and the members of the Forensic Nurse Examiner program also provide suspect exams, child abuse exams and are available to the Medical Examiner's Office to provide post mortem trace evidence collection on suspicious deaths in Macomb County. She remains passionate towards the field of forensic nursing and enjoys the opportunity to share information related to it.

Each April, civilian and military communities observe Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month to raise awareness, prevent sexual violence and provide essential support to survivors. Media coverage and societal awareness of sexual harassment and sexual assault have soared in recent months as a result of misconduct charges sweeping across media, entertainment and other industries. As a result, this year's Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month observance reinforces opportunities for the Army to illustrate its progress and innovation in combatting sexual violence in its formations.

Sexual assault is a crime. It is an intentional sexual contact characterized by the use of force,threats, intimidation or abuse of authority, or when the victim does not or cannot consent. The term includes sexual offenses consisting of rape, sexual assault, aggravated sexual contact, abusive sexual contact, forcible sodomy or attempts to commit these offenses.

Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention's primary mission is prevention of sexual violence as a means to support the Army senior leadership's goal of maintaining the highest levels of unit and organizational readiness. There is no place for sexual harassment, sexual assault, or retaliation in our Army.

"Readiness is my number one priority for the Army. Sexual assault and retaliation for reporting these crimes negatively impact unit readiness by eroding trust," stated Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley,

An integral responsibility of commanders is to set the conditions that enforce Army standards to prevent and report sexual offenses when they occur.

What is the Army doing about sexual assault? The Active Component sexual assault prevalence rate decreased 27 percent between 2014 and 2016. According to the 2016 Workplace and Gender Relations Survey of Active Duty Service Members, prevalence decreased 36.8 percent for Army men. For Army women, prevalence decreased 6.4 percent. The WGRA is conducted every two years; next one is due in 2018, and results will be published in 2019. Recent surveys of Army National Guard and Army Reserve components also show decreases in prevalence.