COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
Every April, the Defense Department recognizes the importance of sexual assault prevention and response and supporting those affected by sexual assault.
Columbus Air Force Base’s SAPR team spends time throughout the month to spread the word by hosting events geared toward educating Team BLAZE about the resources available an individual has been harmed by sexual assault.
This year, the team hosted four events, setup educational booths around base and performed community outreach off-base with the help of the Mississippi University for Women, Mississippi State University and University of Mississippi.
“The goal is to reach out to everyone, not just victims, in order to prevent sexual assault,” said Dr. Marcia Stewart, 14th Flying Training Wing SAPR program manager. “We did a lot of community outreach to educate people about what to do and how to reach us.”
The month’s events kicked off with the signing of the Sexual Assault Awareness Month Proclamation at Freedom Park by Col. Douglas Gosney, 14th FTW commander.
The next event was the SAPR Teal Run where Airmen and families ran a 5K to symbolize the different stages of recovery a victim has to go through, such as grief, depression, loneliness and insecurity.
Next, the team hosted a breakfast where people gathered to enjoy a meal while learning more about what to do if they or a friend has ever been affected by sexual assault.
The final event was a candle-light vigil where a moment of silence was held for victims of sexual assault.
Overall, the 14th FTW SAPR Team wanted to ensure their faces are known base-wide, so if anyone ever needs their help, they will know who to go to.
“Most victims of sexual assault are in a delicate state and it is our job to ensure they get the care and support they need.” said Carla Neal-Bush, 14th FTW SAPR victim advocate. “This month is dedicated to teaching people about how to deal with the weight and struggles of being a victim and who to contact if affected.”