BATTLE CREEK, Mich. - Sexual Assault Awareness Month is observed nationally throughout the month of April, and the Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office encourages agency employees, families, and friends to engage in awareness and support activities both this month and year-round.
Robin Rogers serves DLA Disposition Services personnel stationed around the world, along with other Battle Creek, Michigan -based employees as their Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, or SARC. Throughout the Defense Department, SARCs serve in a special capacity that allows them to act as an advocate and provide guidance to victims of sexual assault.
Rogers recently participated in a question-and-answer session about DLA’s SAPR policies, her role as SARC, and how interested employees could participate and show support in 2021. An edited version of the interview follows:
With the pandemic as a limiting factor, are any Sexual Assault Awareness Month activities planned for this year?
For April 2021, we are planning outreach information to be provided weekly via email and displays at entrances in the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center. We are also hosting a virtual, enterprise-wide Teal Ribbon Relay. Each DLA major subordinate command will be asked to compete and submit miles by running, walking, or biking, with the goal of 1026 miles – the total distance between all the DLA major subordinate command headquarters locations. Miles will be updated weekly, and the command that completes all the miles will receive a plaque. We are also planning a 1-mile awareness walk on “Denim Day,” Wednesday, April 28th.
Can you describe the “Teal Tea” event that was cancelled due to pandemic restrictions?
The Teal Tea is usually held in April. The idea of the event started from the public service announcement “Tea is Consent” video that was popular to use for trainings and awareness. I also inherited a lot of antique china and thought it would be nice to put it to use! We invite a guest speaker who is a subject matter expert to speak to DLA employees, leadership, and community members. Past speakers have included sexual assault survivors and representatives from law enforcement. The event has grown each year and been duplicated at DLA’s facility in Columbus, Ohio, also. Guests in attendance have included local law enforcement, representatives from the judicial system and prosecutor’s office, and community service providers.
Leaders in DLA Disposition Services meet monthly to discuss SAPR. What happens in those meetings?
The Sexual Assault Review Team, or SART, consists of SAPR’s key stakeholders and meets monthly primarily to review any open unrestricted cases to ensure victim care. However, the SART also reviews systemic issues within various locations or regions and general trends throughout the command. The meetings ensure system accountability, help improve reporting and eliminate barriers for victim’s access to support services. Leadership also monitors training, discusses prevention strategies, and is provided updated information about laws, regulations, policies, and developments in the response to sexual assault.
What is the 24-hour SAPR hotline number? Who staffs it? What can someone expect if they call?
The 24-hour hotline (1-800-841-0937) is manned by a DLA SARC. We each rotate in two-week shifts to cover the hotline. If you call the hotline, you can speak to a live DLA SARC to report a sexual assault or receive information and resources.
Is it true that part of your role extends beyond the walls of the Battle Creek federal center?
I attend bi-monthly meetings of the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Committee of Calhoun County, which includes networking and coordination between community services, local law enforcement, and the judicial system. Attendees include local medical responders, SAFE Place, Legal Aide, Calhoun County Prosecutor’s Office, Battle Creek Police Dept., Michigan State Police, and local tribal representatives. I am a member of the Community Advisory Board for Sexual Assault Services, which provides advocacy and support in a half dozen Michigan counties. I am also the Region 5 Coordinator for Mass Crime Victim Response for the State of Michigan. This allows me to be involved with crime victim response throughout the state.