AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar --
As part of a campaign to spread awareness, show support and eliminate sexual assaults, the 379th Air Base Wing’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program and the U.S. Army’s Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention Program held a combined virtual 6K “Got Your Six” glow run centered around the Hashtag #notjustApril, Aug. 13 and 14, 2020, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.
Focused on the theme, “Got Your Six,” the 6K run was designed to show that every individual in-and-out of uniform should have each other’s backs and that everyone in the military should maintain a zero tolerance environment.
“[The run is to] raise awareness for the importance of sexual assault prevention, and to serve as a reminder that sexual assault occurs year-round,” said Capt. Ester Shim, 379th AEW installation SAPR program manager. “Sexual assault prevention is not just limited to the month of April. Our military and civilian forces should continuously uphold a zero tolerance environment.”
According to Shim, even though the run is virtual, it is meant to draw attention from onlookers due to the glow sticks participants will be wearing.
“The glow sticks symbolize military members lighting up the path for their fellow Airmen, Soldiers, Marines, Sailors,” Shim said. “We hope that this spikes the curiosity of others and gets the conversation going. That lighting up the night and having so many individuals support a cause exemplifies what it means to be a good wingman.”
U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Amber Richard, Task Force Chesapeake, SARC, explained the run was held jointly to amplify the presence of both offices at Al Udeid and spread the word of prevention.
“Prevention is key,” Richard said. “Efforts that bring awareness to these programs, like the “Got Your Six” 6K, emphasize the importance of supporting all persons and call all of us to evaluate our role in preventing sexual harassment and sexual assault.”
Richards went on to say that she hopes this run helps raise awareness of the services available to military members on base.
“I hope that participants and onlookers to this event are reminded that there are initiatives in place to support persons who have experienced sexual violence,” she said. “A comprehensive support system can facilitate healing and give survivors the space, time, and distance to make decisions that are right for them. The SAPR and SHARP programs are here to provide that support, and we play a role in combatting harmful cultural and social norms.”
The SAPR and SHARP staff are available to support victims of sexual assault 24/7. The program is a client-centric program, meaning that the program focuses solely on client support.
“Sexual assault prevention efforts can’t be expressed for just one month,” said Shim. “Showing support through awareness events fosters an encouraging climate for those who may need the assistance, but are too afraid to come forward.”
The team encourages individuals to showcase their support for eliminating sexual assault by using the hashtag #notjustApril.