"Sexual assault is absolutely inconsistent with our core values and it has no place in our Air Force; in a deployed context, at home or anywhere in between."
- Michael B. Donley, Secretary of the Air Force.
The month of April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). Throughout the National Capital Region and Department of Defense, service members and their families are gearing up to promote sexual assault awareness through numerous community events and activities.
“Whether directly or indirectly - we are all affected by sexual assault,” said Michelle Williams, Andrews Sexual Assault Response Coordinator. “Through SAAM events and the newly-established Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program we hope to encourage every Andrews member to understand their responsibility of gaining consent before engaging in sexual acts.”
The ultimate goal of SAAM and of the Andrews SAPR is to make sure individuals receive 100 percent consent before engaging in any sexual act. Additionally, if an individual is or has ever been a victim of a sexual assault, SAAM events and the Andrews SAPR will highlight the resources available to those seeking assistance.
“People need to be aware that sexual assault, of any type, is a crime,” said Williams. “However, if someone has been victimized, there are options in place for them through SAPR and the Andrews SARC to receive help.”
The two types of procedures for reporting a sexual assault crime are restricted and unrestricted reporting.
If an individual decides to have their sexual assault case fall under restricted reporting procedures, they must be an active-duty, Coast or National Guard, or reservist military member who is performing federal training under a Title 10 status. This type of reporting ensures the victim’s medical care, treatment and counseling without notifying the individual’s command or any type of law enforcement officials.
If an individual decides to have their sexual assault case fall under unrestricted reporting procedures, the individual will receive the same medical and psychological care. However, in unrestricted reporting, their case will be elevated through the individual’s chain of command, related security forces and/or the Air Force Office of Investigation.
“Our Airmen need to understand that there are support systems in place if they have been a victim of sexual assault,” said Williams. “Additionally, they need to understand the difference between the two reporting procedures. Airman can receive services without triggering an investigation, which often times is a hindrance to the support process.”
For a complete listing of SAAM events, check out the Joint Base Andrews Facebook page, contact your unit’s first sergeant or visit one of the numerous SAAM booths that will be set up around the base throughout the month.
For more information, contact the Andrews SARC at 301-981-7272 or 202-767-7272.