CRANE, Ind. – For more than a year, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way Crane Army Ammunition Activity operates, but it has not taken away the support it gives to important events like Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
SAAPM is recognized throughout the month of April across the Department of Defense by military and civilians as an opportunity to inform employees on how to create a safe workplace culture, as well as share resources for those who may need to seek help.
“The pandemic limited face-to-face interactions at Crane Army over the past year, but it didn’t take away the ability for victims to reach out,” said Donaval Avila Martinez, Crane Army’s sexual assault response coordinator. “Anybody who needs help can always call our hotline.”
In a normal year, CAAA would have held awareness events such as a run/walk, a pledge signing event and a comfort-food potluck to bring people together and raise awareness.
In lieu of in-person events, Crane Army is holding socially distant events with the goal of maintaining a sense of community around sexual assault prevention. Events include Teal Tuesday, when employees are encouraged to wear teal clothing on that day to show support for the cause, and a virtual proclamation signing by CAAA Commander Col. Stephen Dondero. The proclamation reinforced to the workforce the harmful impact sexual assault has at all levels of the Army.
“Sexual assault threatens not only our workforce, but our mission as well. When people are put in harm’s way, it devastates our communities and threatens our ability to support the warfighter and get the job done right,” Dondero said.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Crane Army workforce has been diligently observing social distancing by limiting the number of in-person workers. Social distancing policies have largely eliminated situations that lead to sexual assault in the workplace over the past year but that does not mean it might not happen.
“We may face issues when we are back at full capacity after the pandemic, so it’s important to continue spreading awareness even though it’s not as prevalent in our workplace at this moment,” Avila Martinez said.
CAAA ensures that its people have the tools and support they need to combat sexual assault and harassment in the workplace by working together and standing in solidarity against these threats.
No matter the month, Crane Army employees can contact Avila Martinez or the Crane hotline in case of a sexual assault related emergency. Another resource to be aware of is the Department of Defense Safe Helpline, available online and in app stores, where the DOD community can call or instant message a 24/7 hotline that is anonymous and confidential. The website is an anthology of resources for both sexual assault survivors and their loved ones to learn, seek help and practice coping mechanisms, like breathing exercises.
“We are one organization, and our mission is critical. If we allow sexual assault to run rampant, it becomes difficult to meet our mission, which makes it difficult for the warfighter to accomplish their mission,” Avila Martinez said. “Don’t be a bystander, you have to intervene to help your peers – not just this month, but in all months.”
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted at a U.S. Army workplace, please contact your command SARC or visit the U.S. Army Resilience Directorate for help.
About Crane Army
Crane Army Ammunition Activity ships, stores, demilitarizes and produces conventional munitions in support of U.S. Army and Joint Force readiness. It serves as the second largest Army ammunition depot, holding roughly a fourth of the U.S. Department of Defense’s conventional munitions. CAAA is a subordinate command of the Joint Munitions Command and the U.S. Army Materiel Command, which comprise arsenals, depots, activities and ammunition plants. Established in October 1977, it is located on Naval Support Activity Crane.