New Troop Support sexual assault response coordinator encourages virtual awareness, prevention observance

By Nancy Benecki DLA Troop Support

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Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month is recognized every April by military and civilian agencies. The Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support would typically host a month-long calendar of events in Philadelphia, starting with an opening ceremony and concluding with a walk around base with employees wearing teal t-shirts and jeans to raise awareness and show support to the cause.

This year, however, things are very different.

With most of the workforce teleworking, and large social gatherings being canceled in effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, SAAPM observances have been postponed indefinitely.

During these unique circumstances, DLA Troop Support also welcomed its new Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, Gina Ingrao. While observing SAAPM as a workforce is physically impossible right now, Ingrao said she looks forward to meeting the workforce in-person. She also asks employees not to forget the message this month usually brings.

“Remember, the Department of Defense observes SAAPM by focusing on creating the appropriate culture to eliminate sexual assault,” Ingrao said. “We all have a role in preventing sexual assault, and this is more important than ever during the current virtual posture.” 

While the events for this year are postponed, she said it is important to still actively support sexual assault prevention.

“When the time is right, the DLA Troop Support community will stand together against sexual assault and harassment and show our support to the survivors,” Ingrao said. “In the meantime, members of the workforce may be geographically distant from their support system, and this distance may be isolating. Making time for a phone call or sending a text message with supportive words can go a long way.”

Another way to show support virtually, she said, is to still observe Denim Day on April 29, and post photos of you and your family wearing denim on social media with #DenimDay.

“While we are working virtually, Denim Day is an annual, national day of awareness that encourages participants to wear jeans or other denim clothing as symbols of believing survivors and not blaming them for sexual assault based on what they were wearing,” she said.

Prior to joining DLA Troop Support, Ingrao served as a SARC for the U.S. Army at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland in the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Resource Center. There, she supported the installation SAPR Program for the 100 tenant units, along with the continental United States footprint of the Communications-Electronics Command. 

Ingrao said she started working at APG in 2010 and was “immediately passionate” about the SAPR Program, so she volunteered to become a collateral-duty SARC before becoming a full-time SARC with the senior mission command. 

She reminds DLA Troop Support employees that the following resources remain available to those affected by sexual violence, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of location:

  • The DLA SAPR 24/7 Hotline is available at 1-800-841-0937 for immediate assistance
  • DoD Safe Helpline at (877) 995-5247 or https://safehelpline.org
  • Women Organized Against Rape Philadelphia is available to anyone who experienced sexual violence through their 24 Hour Hotline at (215) 985-3333

In addition, Ingrao can be reached directly via email at gina.ingrao@dla.mil.