FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. — Fort Huachuca and the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence (USAICoE) wrapped up Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM) at Warrior Sentinel Field with a candlelight vigil, April 29.
The candlelight vigil was held in remembrance of victims of sexual assault, sexual harassment and domestic violence to serve as a reminder that those who suffer in silence are not alone.
“Sexual violence is at its core, a devastating abuse of power,” said Maj. Gen. Anthony R. Hale, Fort Huachuca and USAICoE commanding general. “One that affects people of every age, race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, socio-economic background and religion.”
It is the responsibility of each of us to stand up and speak out against sexual assault, but to also change the culture and attitudes that allow it to proliferate, said Hale.
“Tonight, we honor the bravery and leadership of survivors by rededicating ourselves to eliminating sexual violence,” Hale said. “It will require care and commitment from each of us to realize an Army and an America where everyone is free from the threat and impact of sexual violence.”
The candlelight vigil came to a close with a “United We Stand Against Sexual Violence” march that ended at Riley Barracks.
SAAPM kicked off April 1 with a proclamation signing by Hale and unit leadership from across the installation. The proclamation signing was followed by an installation 5k run.
“There have been a lot of great events that encouraged prevention, unity, and support not only for victims and survivors of sexual assault but also for advocates and the community as a whole,” said Lana Tompkins-Stutzman, USAICoE SHARP program manager.
One event was a “Shattering the Silence” forum with Sgt. Maj. Aaron Stone, a Non-commissioned Officer Leadership Center of Excellence instructor, assigned to Fort Bliss, Texas, who shared his story of surviving sexual assault as a teen.
“Through sharing his story, Sgt. Maj. Stone hoped that it would encourage victims to speak up and get the support they need,” Tompkins-Stutzman said. “It was a very moving event.”
Other events throughout the month included a prevention fair that allowed personnel to meet the installations prevention teams, “Chalk the Walk” where individuals wrote supportive messages with chalk on sidewalks, a SHARP table top exercise that tested installation processes to responding to reports of sexual assault to improve and streamline the process, and much more.
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