COLUMBUS, Ohio –
Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM) officially kicked off with an information fair at Defense Supply Center Columbus.
The April 5 event provided educational materials about a variety of resources available at DSCC and in the surrounding community for victims and survivors of sexual assault.
Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) office has activities planned throughout the month to raise awareness and reinforce the agency’s strong commitment to victim advocacy.
Sexual assault response coordinator Shari Murnahan said the month’s activities provide a way for associates to participate and show their support for the prevention of sexual violence or harassment.
“It’s important to get information out to all of our associates, including everyone at each of our detachments, to let them know what resources are available to them,” she said. “This is a concern that affects everyone, and statistics suggest that even people without personal experience most likely know someone who’s been impacted by this issue.”
Murnahan said 1 out of 4 women will experience sexual assault in their lifetime, and for men the figure is approximately 1 in 70.
Air Force Master Sgt. Maggie Ladd has been a victim advocate for four years, first as a service representative and now as liaison for military personnel at DLA Land and Maritime. She said the military takes the issues of sexual violence and harassment very seriously – whether on or off duty.
“Everyone who wears the uniform should live up to a code of justice and honor,” she said. “Personal conduct is a reflection of that code and the service member. Every branch of service offers sexual assault prevention training and provides support to their troops, and DLA champions those initiatives as well.”
During the month of April, the SAPR office is planning activities intended to educate, motivate, and raise awareness. These include fitness classes, Denim Day, outdoor events, a solidarity walk and a day on the DSCC golf course dedicated to the month’s theme.
April 12 – Service members and associates will meet at DSCC’s Mission Park at noon to “Walk a Lap for a Survivor.” The event will feature remarks from Land and Maritime Commander Navy Rear Adm. Michelle Skubic and an organized walk symbolizing the concept that survivors are not alone.
- April 20 – The Eagle Eye Golf Course will host outdoor activities sponsored by SAPR and Land and Maritime’s Culture Council from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., for the “Climate of Respect – Par Fore the Course” event.
- April 26– Associates are encouraged to participate in “Denim Day” to reinforce the concept that there is never an invitation or alibi for rape. The tradition of wearing denim to express support for victims of sexual assault began with public outcry over a 1998 legal defense. An Italian court determined a young woman’s jeans indicated consent because they were too tight to be removed without her assistance. That decision was eventually overturned, but not before Denim Day became an international symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes justifying sexual assault and victim blaming.
This year, DLA is also hosting an enterprise-wide challenge for associates to track their participation in activities while earning points and weekly recognition. The virtual “Going the Distance for SAPR” program encourages participants to fulfill online and real-world assignments to accumulate points.
The SAPR program provides advocacy services and resources that support victim recovery and works to reduce the incidents of sexual assault while striving to remove the shame associated with reporting sexual violence.
For more information about DLA’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program, visit the agency’s SAPR page at: http://www.dla.mil/Info/SAPR/.
For anonymous sexual assault assistance, visit the DoD Safe Helpline website at: www.safehelpline.org or call 877-995-5247.