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FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — In April, we observe National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, or SAAPM, to reaffirm our commitment to eliminate sexual assault, sexual harassment and retaliation against survivors. It is our responsibility to protect every member of our team and to foster dignity and respect.

This year’s theme for SAAPM is “Building Cohesive Teams through Character, Trust & Resilience. Protecting Our People Protects Our Mission.” Sexual assault — intentional, unwanted sexual contact — and sexual harassment — unwelcome and inappropriate sexual advances — destroy trust and negatively impact the lives of survivors and teammates, along with the readiness of our formations.

As Army professionals, we are duty bound to create safe, positive environments; to report violators; to investigate and hold perpetrators accountable; and to provide professional, compassionate and comprehensive care to survivors. This means eliminating stigmas for bystander intervention and reporting; and it means preventing retaliation against those who come forward.

Individuals who violate our oath, values and trust by participating in, or enabling a permissive environment for, sexual misconduct must be rooted out of our formations.

As a training installation, Fort Leonard Wood possesses a unique opportunity to drive change across the Department of Defense. We must reinforce the importance of strong character and engaged leadership in our positions of trust and also in our newest recruits and service members.

SHARP trainers, victim advocates, medical facilities, chaplains and our special victims’ counsel are also here to help. The DoD Safe Helpline at 1.877.995.5247 and the Fort Leonard Wood Helpline at 573.855.1327 provide anonymous crisis support. Our helpline is also auto-dialed from the safe and secure phones located in all regular, quarantine and isolation barracks. The special victim’s counsel is a special assignment within our legal team that advocates specifically for survivors of sexual assault. Leaders, save their number, 573.596.0190, in the event that one of your teammates needs their expertise. You can find other resources and contact information on the Fort Leonard Wood website and the We Care Fort Leonard Wood mobile app.

Thank you for your continued support as we continue to work toward a military that is free of sexual assault.

We are incredibly proud to serve with our Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen and civilians here in the heart of our nation, at Fort Leonard Wood, and remember we are all in this together.

Victory Starts Here — Victory Through Skill!