NEW CUMBERLAND, Pennsylvania –
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Because of this special emphasis month, DLA Distribution’s Multicultural Committee hosted a session with one of Distributions Sexual Assault Response Coordinator’s, A.J. Brandt on April 12. This year’s Department of Defense theme is “Protecting our people, protecting our nation.”
Brandt started out the 30-minute session with a history of Sexual Assault Awareness Month and why it is important.
“Every two minutes an American is sexually assaulted,” explained Brandt. “Just think of how many will be assaulted during this 30 minute training.”
To begin, Brandt explained in the late 1970s women began working to “Take Back the Night” in response to the violence that was being experienced while walking through city streets after sundown. The initial female-only protests were meant to share information about sexual assault with the communities they took place in. By the 1980s these sexual assault awareness activities had expanded to include the issue of violence against women. It wasn’t long before these activities expanded even more and encompassed violence against men, and males began participating to raise awareness.
In the late 1980s, the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault began developing interest in selecting a designated time period to promote awareness. An informal poll of sexual assault coalition agencies revealed that April would be a suitable month, and the national Sexual Assault Awareness Week was established. By the late 1990s the week was expanded to an entire month.
Additionally, Brandt explained the DoD has had a Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program since 2005. DLA is the first branch outside of the services to have a SAPR program. Air Force Lt. Gen. Andrew Busch, commander of DLA, made it his mission to bring this beneficial program to DLA. Each primary level field activity now has its own SARC, with the exception of Distribution which has two because of its size.
Finally, Brandt explains the SAPR program is committed to the safety and resiliency of the workforce. The program provides safe, confidential help to anyone who may need assistance, whether you have been a victim or sexual assault, or you know someone who has been a victim.
“We all have a part to play in sexual assault awareness,” said Brandt. “My hope is that most of my job will be about spreading the word about prevention.”
Brandt is located at DLA Distribution Susquehanna, Pennsylvania in Building 82. She can be reached directly by phone at (717) 770-5075. People can also visit www.safehelpline.org for more assistance.