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Acts of courage fuel change

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Kelly Goonan
  • 332d Air Expeditionary Wing, Public Affairs

The 332d Air Expeditionary Wing Sexual Assault and Prevention and Response team recently began hosting a series of conversations bringing awareness to the Department of Defense’s Men’s SAPR campaign.

According to the DoD, the Men’s SAPR Campaign is an initiative that was developed from the 2016 “Plan to Prevent and Respond to Sexual Assault of Military Men" and focuses on sexual assault experienced by male service members. Its aim is to address the personal impact and negative effects on readiness and unit cohesion when sexual assaults occur. The campaign also provides vital education and access to important resources for both SAPR professionals and victims of sexual assault.

The 332d AEW SAPR team decided to move to a more education-based conversation method to reach Airmen at the conclusion of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month with their Men’s SAPR campaign initiative.

“This is to discuss items and topics that people may be unaware of or topics that need to be addressed because of rising trends,” said Staff Sgt. Kory Talbert, 332d AEW SAPR victim advocate. “So with this conversation method in mind, we decided to create a monthly topic to focus on, allowing people to attend and then voice what they would like to hear about.”

The goal for this conversation-based campaign is to increase awareness, education, and empathy but goes further than that.

“The tagline ‘courage to report fuels change’ is spot on but it’s also more than that,” Talbert explained. “When it comes to sexual assault, it’s not about reporting and trying to pin perpetrators for their crimes. It is about the victim taking power and control back. At the root of any SA, the victim’s power, dignity, control, and peace have been ripped away, broken down, or shattered. Coming forward to seek help, guidance, or mentorship, especially as a male where society almost mocks men for doing this, takes an extreme amount of courage and bravery.”

All service members deserve to work and live in a respectful, inclusive environment while serving our nation. While the campaign is focused on sexual assault of male service members, it is inclusive of all service members affected by sexual assault.

The campaign acknowledges that coping with and surviving the aftermath of sexual assault takes immense courage.