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There is No Place

Pennsylvania --      Many of you may have already seen and read a recent 'Letter to Airmen' - signed by Michael B. Donley, Secretary of the Air Force; General Mark A. Welsh III, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and Chief Master Sgt. James A Roy, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force - regarding sexual assault within our ranks. In the letter, these senior leaders reminded us that we have an effect on eliminating assaults.

     In part, the letter states: "There is no place for sexual assault in our Air Force. When it comes to combating this challenge, every Airmen is either part of the solution or part of the problem. We must be united in our commitment to intervene when we see the potential for harm, to act affirmatively when we observe tolerance of sexist behavior and attitudes, and to provide victim care. The only way to stop sexual assault is for Airmen to take action. ...Become personally involved. Recommit yourself to our core values. Be an advocate for professionalism and discipline. ...Most importantly, if you are aware of sexual assault in your unit, report it."

     I couldn't agree more; we must eliminate sexual assault in our ranks. Just because it isn't being reported, doesn't mean it isn't occurring. I'm asking each of you to be part of the solution. This behavior is unacceptable, and I expect you to intervene when you witness, or suspect, this type of behavior. Be a good Wingman - step in - act and protect.

     In addition, we must all continue to support our Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Programs, and our Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARCs) and Victim Advocates. They have our backs on this but shouldn't be the only ones on the front line. We all need to be involved to promote respect and dignity throughout our ranks.

     If we're not aggressively working to eliminate this horrible crime in our units, then we're part of the problem. We can't afford to turn a blind eye on this crime just because we may feel it's not occurring in our units; our Airmen deserve better.

The entire 'Letter to Airmen' can be accessed/read at:
http://www.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-121116-011.pdf
Additional information on the Air Force SAPR Program can be found at:
http://www.afpc.af.mil/library/sapr/index.asp