RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –
Education is the first step in prevention. In the case of sexual assault, being educated is essential in the quest to be the best wingmen possible.
In observance of Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April, members of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Outreach Program have organized different events to foster education on sexual assault victim advocacy.
Joan Orosco, acting Sexual Assault Response Coordinator and victim advocate, said that with education, needed changes will come regarding people's response to sexual assaults.
"There are still too many people that believe it is the victim's fault and don't see sexual assault as a crime of violence, power and control," she said. "As people learn more about sexual assault they will become more sensitive to the needs of survivors."
This year, two events are scheduled in support of SAAM. The first is a SAAM Proclamation Ceremony, in which Col. Christopher Weggeman, 12th Operations Group commander, will sign a proclamation declaring Team Randolph's dedication to sexual assault awareness. The ceremony is Monday at 9 a.m. in the base theater.
Veraunda Jackson, an attorney and sexual assault trainer, will speak at the ceremony to share her experience. As a victim of rape at the age of 16, Ms. Jackson used the experience to travel and educate people on the effects of sexual assault and how to be victim advocates.
"Ms. Jackson is a great speaker who can present from the perspective of a survivor and also from an attorney's point of view," Ms. Orosco said. "The information you receive at the Proclamation Ceremony may be important in the future for you or someone you know."
The second event is a walk entitled "Walk a Mile in His/Her Shoes" which will be held at Eberle Park on April 18. Participants will follow a one-mile trail of footprints, reading signs along the way which list facts about female sexual assault victims. At the end of the trail, they will turn and follow the footprints past signs listing facts about male sexual assault victims.
Master Sgt. Diane Jackson, sexual assault victim advocate, said that participation in the SAAM events will not only foster education within Team Randolph members, but will show support for the victims of sexual assault.
"Observing SAAM will let our victims know that we are doing more than just complying with Department of Defense requirements," she said. "We must educate ourselves to the realities of this heinous crime instead of relying on old myths and stereo-types."
The Sexual Assault Response Coordinator is the single point of contact for Team Randolph members who have been assaulted or know someone who has. The on-call SARC can be reached at 652-8787 and the Sexual Assault Outreach and Prevention office number is 652-4387.
"Randolph has had very few reported cases of sexual assault, but we must always be ready to respond when the need arises," Ms. Orosco said. "Advocates leave the program for various reasons, so we can use more to replace them. Those interested in volunteering to become an advocate can contact the Sexual Assault Outreach and Prevention Program office."
Victims can also call the San Antonio Rape Crisis Center at 521-7273 or 349-7273. There is more information available on the center at www.rapecrisis.com.
For more information on sexual assault prevention and resources throughout the state, visit the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault Web site at www.taasa.org.