By Bill Gattie, TACOM Public AffairsApril 17, 2018
DETROIT ARSENAL, Mich. -- On Thursday, April 12, 2018 the Detroit Arsenal held an observance event of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month with two speakers sharing relevant and helpful information related to sexual violence in our community.
"There is no place for sexual assault or sexual harassment in the Army," U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command Chief of Staff Col. Jeffrey Witt said as he gave opening remarks for the event. "Our profession, both military and civilian, relies on trust and the ability to work together as a team."
This year's speakers were 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.
"A common misconception about sexual assault is that it is all about sex," Twardesky said. "Sexual assault is primarily about anger, power, or control."
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.
"We are not there to investigate the crime; we are not there to make judgments; we are there to provide medical care to patients that are in need," Lippert said concerning her role as a forensic nurse.
Lippert stated that victims can recover from sexual violence, although they will be altered by it. She says she has seen patients ranging in age from 18 days to 100 years old from all socio-economic backgrounds. Lippert stressed the importance of victims seeking help within three to five days after the incident. She stated that a major challenge faced by those involved in the investigation of sexual assault cases is that hospital staff often unknowingly destroy some of the evidence that could help lead to a solution.
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 and has served as program director since 2008.
To end the event, Witt presented two-star notes to Lippert and Twardesky on behalf of TACOM Commanding General Maj. Gen. Clark LeMasters.