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SAAPM: Not just a number or statistic

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Miranda Mahoney
  • 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

In the blazing sun, an accent of silver paint shimmered bright against a black background. The first signature of many was added to a large mural reading ‘Stand against sexual assault,’ and it was that of U.S. Air Force Col. George Buch, the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing commander.

The act signified the official start of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month at Ali Al Salem Air Base.

“A strong proactive strategy is key to preventing sexual violence and will require installation-wide involvement,” said Buch.

During the month of April, AASAB hosted several events open to all members on base to bring added awareness to the issue and emphasize the resources that are available to Airmen year-round.

“We are really fortunate to have a lot of the same home-station resources readily available here at AASAB,” said Capt. Rebekah Morris, the 386th AEW Sexual Assault Response Coordinator. “Whether you are at home or deployed, there is a SARC assigned to your installation, so everyone has access to a SARC or a victim advocate 24/7, 365 days a year. Currently, I have six volunteer victim advocates who are fully credentialed and able to work with whoever needs our support.”

Morris advised that a phone call to the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office is a safe starting point for asking questions or reporting a sexual assault because they are a confidential resource. SAPR personnel are also knowledgeable about all the available resources, such as counseling and legal assistance, and they can provide advocacy services throughout the process, regardless of whether a survivor files a restricted or unrestricted report.

“These [survivors] are real people,” said Morris. “They aren’t just a number or statistic. This is a human being with a life, a family, career goals, and feelings, so to me the month means an opportunity to acknowledge that this is really happening, a lot more than people realize, and we are going to talk about it.”

Morris stressed the importance of having empathy and compassion when someone chooses to disclose information about their survivor story.

Buch echoed the importance of banding together to create an environment in which sexual assault is not tolerated.

“This month is an opportunity to reaffirm our ongoing commitment toward ensuring the safety of all our wingmen. Let us unite to eliminate sexual harassment and assault, and continue to strengthen our culture and Wing.”

If you or someone you know needs SAPR services, contact the SARC at 442-5777 or email The 24/7 SAPR hotline is 442-7272 or 965-6222-1738.