JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —
Joint Base San Antonio partnered with The Rape Crisis Center and the 470th Military Intelligence Brigade to host a Take Back Our City/Night event for the San Antonio community April 11. The event was held at San Antonio College with Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, Army North (Fifth Army) commanding general, providing the keynote address.
“We have predators in the military, in our classrooms, in our community,” Buchanan said.
The general stressed the importance of partnerships between the military and colleges/universities to learn from each other and put an end to sexual violence not only in our formations but in the community.
“We are a reflection of the rest of society,” Buchanan added.
In 2016, the San Antonio Against Sexual Assault Coalition was founded with the goal of the bringing community partners like local colleges and universities, non-profit agencies and the military to share best practices and ways to prevent sexual assault in our formations and society. The event brought together members of this coalition and the community.
This is the second year the event has been held and it continues to grow in size and attendance.
“We can’t train our way out of sexual violence, but we can lead our way,” Buchanan added, while making a call to all service members and military leaders to not be a bystander and act if someone needs help.
Art displays were used to increase awareness of the effects of sexual violence. There were poems read by JBSA slam winners, Pvt. DeAndre Sisk and Pvt. Angel Maloney. There were also other poetry readings, survivors sharing their stories and the night ended with a candlelight vigil in memory of those who have lost their lives to sexual violence.
The event was part of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, or SAAPM. The United States observed the first SAAPM in April 2001 as a month set aside to raise awareness about sexual violence and how to prevent it.
“Perhaps one day, we will have made such progress, that a month will no longer be necessary,” said Sandra Hocking, victim advocate for the 470th Military Intelligence Brigade, who helped coordinate the event.