Sexual Assault Awareness Month

The month of April is designated Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence (focusing on sexual assault and rape) and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. Beginning in 2005, the Air Force commenced the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program and assigned full-time sexual assault response coordinators at all main operating installations. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Hans Roth)

The month of April is designated Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence (focusing on sexual assault and rape) and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Hans Roth)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Sexual Assault Awareness Month, observed in April, is the month dedicated to making a concerted effort to raise public awareness about sexual violence and how to prevent sexual assault.

Through special events and education we can highlight sexual violence as a major public health, human rights and social justice issue and reinforce prevention efforts.

The aftermath of a sexual assault can be detrimental to a victim on many levels. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, victims of sexual assault are three times more likely to suffer from depression, six times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol, 26 times more likely to abuse drugs and four times more likely to contemplate suicide.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice's National Crime Victimization Survey, every two minutes someone in the United States is sexually assaulted.

While those are powerful statistics let's look a little closer to home. In 2010 the Air Force commissioned its own Gallup poll to determine the prevalence of sexual assault throughout the Air Force. The following results were revealed:

- Among the current Air Force population, 18.9 percent of women and 2.1 percent of men reported having experienced some form of sexual assault while in the Air Force.

- Most female and male victims in the Air Force report that their perpetrators are also in the military.

- Only 7.7 percent of women and 15.8 percent of men say the perpetrator was a stranger; most perpetrators were acquaintances, peers or friends.

All of us have a role in building safe, healthy relationships and communities. I strongly encourage everyone to make a concerted effort to increase your personal knowledge, stand up and speak out against sexual assault and let those around you know that you will not tolerate it. Your personal efforts will have long-term effects.

For more information, visit the DoD web site at www.sapr.mil. To report a sexual assault contact the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator 24/7 Hotline at your instillation.