COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
As Columbus Air Force Base recaps our April Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM), we recognize that sexual violence is widespread, and it takes all of us to prevent these crimes. During the month of April, communities came together across the nation and here, to promote sexual assault awareness and address the fact that sexual assault can occur anytime, anywhere and to anyone, including online.
On April 3, Col. Justin Grieve, the 14 Flying Training Wing commander, signed our Sexual Assault Proclamation renewing Columbus Air Force Base’s commitment to ending sexual violence. During the ceremony we focused on connecting with one another in the most simplistic way. We partnered with a member we didn’t know very well and asked, “What was the best part of your day yesterday?” The ending of sexual violence begins with the most simplistic approach which is authentic connection.
Our sexual assault team did not stop on April 3. We continued rallying stakeholders to join in our prevention strategies by “Painting our Town Teal” for Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. We also teamed up with the Family Advocacy team and Violence Prevention Integrator on April 4 and 11 as we greeted members at the front gate, giving away violence prevention products.
After April 11, we rolled into a two-week focus of our Denim Day drive, collecting over 230 pairs of jeans for a non-profit organization in our local community. Many organizations across base such as the spouses’ club, the Columbus AFB Chapel, the thrift shop and our squadrons supported our efforts to raise awareness, increasing our collection of denim from the prior year by more than 475 percent. We ended April’s awareness and prevention on April 26 with Denim Day, where hundreds of military and civilian members of the Columbus AFB community wore denim to show that they all agree - there is never an excuse to commit sexual assault.
CAFB has honored the survivors and their bravery by renewing our commitment in eliminating sexual violence. However, our job is not done. According to a memo from Frank Kendall, Secretary of the Air Force to DoD leadership, “Reports increased by 13 percent in FY 2022, the highest recorded value in the history of the Department of Air Force SAPR program.” This is why prevention and awareness are “Not Just in April,” per the Department of Air Force.
Columbus AFB is committed to fighting sexual violence “Not just in April” but through the entire year. We passionately support all victims and survivors of such crimes. Our SAPR team will not slow down this calendar year and have more collaborative prevention strategies on the horizon for June.
Healing does not occur in isolation. If you have been a victim of sexual assault, or you know of someone who has, please reach out to our Columbus AFB SAPR team. Mr. Tony Bean, Sexual Assault Coordinator, and our sexual assault victim advocacy team will empathically and passionately provide the resources needed for healing and recovery.
Contact our CAFB Hotline 662-364-0822 (24 hours); Mr. Tony Bean at 662-242-2105; or 662-434-SAPR (7277)