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FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — In April, we focus on National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, or SAAPM, as we 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 build, maintain or improve an environment of dignity, respect and mutual support.

Trust is the bedrock of our profession. Any act that degrades trust will ultimately hurt our readiness, our team cohesion and our people. Sexual assault (intentional, unwanted sexual contact) and sexual harassment (unwelcome and inappropriate sexual advances) destroy trust and degrade the lives of survivors and all of our teammates.

The theme for SAAPM 2022 is “Prevention Starts with You.” Every person has a responsibility to prevent sexual assault, harassment and retaliation. When it comes to these harmful behaviors, the person responsible for committing the act is the perpetrator, but all members of the team are responsible for each other’s safety and wellbeing.

We will deal with those in our formations who violate our oath, values and trust by participating in or enabling an environment conducive to sexual assault, harassment or retaliation; we will provide professional, compassionate and comprehensive care to survivors; we will maintain an environment with no stigma for bystander intervention and reporting; and we will not tolerate retaliation toward those who come forward.

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 in our newest recruits and service members. With personal commitment and engaged leadership, we will protect our people. As Army professionals, we are duty bound to create safe, positive environments; to report violators; and to investigate and hold perpetrators accountable.

More information — on what constitutes sexual harassment or assault; what to do if you think you have experienced these; information about types of reporting; usable phone numbers; and additional links — is available here. The Fort Leonard Wood Helpline may be reached 24/7 at 573.855.1327, and the DOD Safe Helpline is also available 24/7 at 1.877.995.5247; both provide anonymous crisis support.

We are incredibly proud to serve with our Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen and civilians here in the heart of our nation.

Victory Starts Here — Victory Through Skill!