Osan AB recognizes SAAPM

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Allison Payne
  • 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Every year, April is recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM) by both military and civilian communities.

 This year’s SAAPM theme is “STEP FORWARD. Prevent. Report. Advocate.” It is a theme that calls service members to action across all levels of the Department of Defense and use their personal strengths as a means to advance positive change in preventing sexual violence.

“As our 2022 proclamation states, April commemorates National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month,” said Richard Coyle, 51st Fighter Wing Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program manager. “It is our opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to eradicate sexual assault from our ranks.”

 According to the Air Force SAPR program, the day-to-day mission of the SAPR office is to educate, advocate and collaborate to respond to and stop sexual assault and its harmful effects on the military.

 “April may be the awareness month but SAPR is 24/7,” said Staff Sgt. Della Thompson, 51st Munitions Squadron volunteer victim advocate. “We are here to help. We care. You matter. There are so many resources and options for survivors of sexual violence. SAPR can be the waypoint to guide you to those resources and support you the entire way.”

 When it comes to combatting sexual assault, DoD actions are guided by five focus areas: prevention, victim assistance, investigation, accountability and assessment. Overall,  DoD’s approach is prevention-focused with an uncompromising commitment to victim assistance.

“The ultimate goal is to make our office unemployed,” said Coyle. “By this, I do not mean deterring victims from seeking services from our office, but actually eliminating the need for our office to exist altogether. I believe with everyone’s help in preventing sexual abuse from occurring, we could achieve this goal and get rid of the need for SAPR offices. It would be a great day if we could talk about SAPR from a historical perspective rather than discussing current trends and data.”

Both Thompson and Coyle believe standing up to sexual violence starts with one individual, and urge members to say something if they see something. 

“My hopes for the SAPR program and SAAPM are that we continue to support the survivors of sexual violence at the highest-level quality possible,” said Thompson. “Also, that SAPR continues to constantly advocate for the survivor of sexual assault and we continue to demand a culture of sexual violence prevention. Ultimately, I hope we can create a culture where survivors feel truly supported on all levels.”

 The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) manages programs and services that aid in accomplishing the DoD’s SAPR mission. Some of these include SAPR Connect, DoD Safe Helpline, DoD Sexual Assault Advocate Certification Program (D-SAACP) and the DoD Sexual Assault Incident Database (DSAID).

 “Sexual violence can be a hidden scar,” said Thompson. “You never know if someone you work with has been a victim of sexual assault. It is a devastating event that can throw a person’s life upside down. SAAPM brings awareness to this ongoing crisis. I just hope all survivors feel they can come forward and get the help they need and deserve.”

 If you or someone you know would like to make a report or speak to a SAPR representative, they can be reached via the SAPR 24-hour hotline at DSN: 784-7272 or Comm: 031-661-7272. Their office is located in building 937 room 114.

 “Instead of waiting for something to happen, be willing to actively do something about eliminating sexual assaults,” said Coyle. “We, in the SAPR office, are not asking anyone to take on the entire world – just what’s in your world.”

 For other resources, the Department of Defense Safe Helpline is available for 24/7 confidential counseling and support. Visit https://safehelpline.org/ or call 877-995-5247 for more information.