Offutt recognizes Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

  • Published
  • By Dana P. Heard
  • 55th Wing Public Affairs

April is recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month and the Offutt Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office is hosting a number of events here during the month of April to highlight efforts to care for victims and to focus on prevention practices.

For the fourth consecutive year, the SAPR office will host a Relay Race on the Offutt Parade Grounds. It is scheduled to take place April 13 with check-in beginning at 3 p.m. The run is set up as teams of four runners each. Runners must be 18-years-old and answer a SAPR-related question to begin the lap. The relay is open to anyone who has a DOD identification card. For more information about the race or to sign up, contact Tech. Sgt Karen Russell at 294-9713.

The SAPR office is also looking for volunteers to assist with the Relay Race. Tasks include set-up from 2 – 3 p.m., race official duties from 3 to approximately 4:30 p.m. and tear down, which is from approximately 4:30 – 5:30 p.m., depending on the race completion time.

Another event is the Strike Out Sexual Assault Bowling Tournament which will take place on April 16 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Peacekeeper Lanes.  This is an all-ages event and there will be prizes and giveaways to enhance the event.  To sign up, contact Staff Sgt. Edward Whittle at 232-9454. 

The final event is a collaboration with the First Sergeants in their Diamond Classic Golf Tournament.  The event will take place on April 27.  This is a four-person team scramble that includes lunch with a Shotgun start at 12 p.m.  Senior Master Sgt. Jawarski Seals, Senior Master Sgt. Virginia Torpley, and Master Sgt. Nathan Kahle are the POCs to sign up by April 23.

“Each year a Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month Proclamation is produced and signed by the 55th Wing commander, vice commander and command chief as a visual representation of their commitment to support the efforts of the SAPR program,” said Jennifer McCabe, 55th Wing SAPR chief.

The theme for this year is “Protecting our people protects our mission.”

“The theme is important because the message relates at both the individual and unit level,” McCabe said. “We are also using the hashtag ‘#NotJustApril’ which highlights the importance of Airmen’s engagement all year.”

The 55th Medical Group is also planning to hold daily ‘Zero Harm Huddles’ during SAAPM, given by Lt. Col. Angelique Vann-Patterson, 55th Medical Operations Squadron medical specialties flight commander.

Vann-Patterson acts as the 55th Medical Group sexual assault medical manger as well as a sexual assault medical forensics examiner that works in conjunction with the Offutt SAPR office. She will be providing daily updates and statistics on sexual assaults throughout the month.

Vann-Patterson will also be sending out daily contests, to include word scrambles, fill-in-the-blank challenges, true and false quizzes and a poster contest. The theme for the poster contest will be, "Imagine a world without sexual assaults."

“I feel that sexual assault prevention, sexual assault awareness and sexual assault intervention with recovery is important because people truly matter," Vann-Patterson said. “The basis for everything that we do is dependent on people.

“I will entertain the patients in the pharmacy lobby with opportunities to win SAPR logo bags, pens, cellphone holders, water bottles, etc.,” she added.

Capt. Nicole Beebe, 55th Force Support Squadron Military Personnel Flight chief, has assisted with SAPR events since 2015. This year, her role in the Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month and its ongoing efforts is limited due to her full time duties, but this does not diminish the passion she has regarding the subject.

“The emphasis is ‘#NotJustApril’,” Beebe said. “That is the sentiment, and DOD SAPR office has been working very hard to help commanders work better with SAPR and other similar topics more frequently.”

“Its important today, it'll be important in April, it'll be important in May and so forth, but this is our chance to raise awareness and re-center our already fractured focus,” she said.

This year Beebe will be heading up the 4th Annual SAAPM Relay Race along with Tech. Sgt. Karen Russell. By localizing events such as these, they hope to bring awareness to the problem of sexual assault and to prevent the occurrences from happening in and around the community.

Offutt’s chaplain team wants Team Offutt to know that they offer 24/7 on-call services for any and all counseling needs including SAPR issues and situations. They offer privileged communication for those they serve with 100 percent confidentiality. If you need to request assistance, feel free to call the chapel at 294-6244 or the Command Post at 294-3725 to request to talk to a chaplain.

The Sexual Assault Response Coordinator can also be reached 24 hours a day at 402-232-9999 if you or someone you know has been the victim of a sexual assault or just needs to talk through issues related to sexual assault.  The SAPR office team and certified Victim Advocates who volunteer to be a part of the SAPR office are confidential sources to discuss these issues. If it is an emergency situation, dial 911.

For more information, including eligibility, types of reporting and who to call for assistance, click here.