By Breanna Walton, Army Flier StaffApril 14, 2011
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Sexual assault is a serious problem throughout the U.S.
Fort Rucker and surrounding community agencies are seeking to teach people how to protect themselves and look out for others.
Several events are held at Fort Rucker through April to educate Soldiers about sexual assault. The 2011 campaign is "Hurts one. Affects all. Preventing Sexual Assault is Everyone's Duty."
"There is zero tolerance for sexual assault at Fort Rucker," said Justin Mitchell, deputy garrison commander. "There is no excuse for that type of behavior. It's something that is not tolerated and we take any type of allegations of that nature extremely seriously."
Several events are planned next week to help educate people.
Ben Atherton-Zeman will perform "Voices of Men" April 18 at 6:30 p.m. at the post theater.
The multi-media play uses humor and celebrity male voices to educated audiences about sexual assault, consent, dating and domestic violence. The humor brings these topics to audiences in a way that minimizes defensiveness, especially male defensiveness, according to DFMWR.
The Fort Rucker Family Advocacy program will partner with local Wiregrass community agencies to host the fifth annual Wiregrass United Against Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Conference April 18 from 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Daleville Cultural and Convention Center. Speakers include Greg Price, Russ Strand and Ben Atherton-Zeman. The conference is free to the public and registration is required. Those interested in attending, call 255-9838.
"Preventing Sexual Assault is Everyone's Duty focuses on the importance of bystander intervention - a strategy the Department of Defense launched to encourage servicemembers to prevent sexual assault," Maj. Gen. Anthony G. Crutchfield, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general, stated in a recent postwide memorandum. "Active bystanders take the initiative to help those who may be targeted for sexual assault or to help friends who are not thinking clearly from becoming perpetrators of crime."
"We want to educate the public and let them know help is available," added Pam Williams, Army Community Service director. "A lot of times when faced with these types of incidents, victims don't know where to go or what resources are available to them."
According to the Army's Sexual Assault prevention Web site sexual assault can take many forms. To better understand the wide range of personal violence that can occur, education on the different types of sexual assaults along with actions to take if an assault occurs, is the best weapon someone can carry,
Sexual assault can come in forms such as rape, acquaintance rape, sexual harassment, stalking, drug facilitated sexual assault and more.
"Prevention is the main goal. We want to educate young people to prevent incidents of sexual assault," said Williams.
Fort Rucker offers a sexual prevention and response program, unit victim advocate and clinical care for those affected by sexual assault or for someone who wants to become educated.
Individuals can also protect themseves from sexual assault by being prepared, alert and assertive. These three steps, along with other useful information such as reducing the risk of being sexually assaulted in a deployed environment, are available at www.sexualassault.army.mil.
"The thing to remember is sexual assault is a crime and it will be treated as such with the military police and criminal investigators," Mitchell said.
Anyone who feels uncomfortable about a situation concerning sexual assault or improper touching should start with Fort Rucker victim advocate coordinators, who are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 379-7947 or 379-7946 or stop by the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program in Bldg. 5700.
Other sources include the chain of command and the Department of Defense Safe Helpline, which offers live confidential 24/7 one-on-one help. For more information, call (877) 955-5247, text 55-247 or visit www.safehelpline.org.