Know Your Part, Do Your Part, theme of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

Story by David Altom, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

Sexual assault awareness month

Know your part. Do your part — Each member of our Guard community has a unique role in preventing and responding to sexual assault. We must recognize our part in stopping this crime starting with our own awareness and knowing when and where to safely intervene. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

 

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Force protection, as every soldier and airman knows, is critical to mission success. The stress of an imminent threat is a dangerous distraction and severely erodes morale, both on the battlefield and in the streets. Battles and wars have been lost because someone didn’t do their job and make sure the force was secure.

The same principles apply to the sexual assault and harassment within the force as well.

Beginning this month, during National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention month, the rallying cry against the enemy is “Eliminate Sexual Assault: Know Your Part. Do Your Part.”

“Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month gives us an opportunity to focus attention on individual roles and identify situations that pose risks for sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other criminal behaviors, and demonstrate social courage to safely prevent harmful behaviors,” said Kentucky National Guard Victim Advocate Coordinator Charles Lay. “What we hope to do is raise awareness of the problem among the troops and empower them to take responsibility for their battle buddies and wingmen.”

DoD’s prevention approach engages leaders at all levels, and requires a personal commitment from every service member to prevent this crime. Sexual assault is counter to the U.S. military’s core values and profoundly divisive and destructive to units. Lay says we are responsible to do everything in our power to protect and nurture our most valuable asset – our people.

“The month of April is a great time to do this as it represents springtime and renewal,” said Lay. “But we need to keep up the momentum and keep this awareness alive throughout the rest of the year, twenty-four/seven, seven days a week. It’s a disheartening problem to have, but that shouldn’t discourage each and every one of us to take an active role in combating it.”

Lay says everyone in the National Guard is accountable and responsible for eliminating this crime from our ranks.   Change starts with understanding the problem and setting the right climate within the organization. Treating victims with dignity and respect when the crime is reported is an imperative, thereby improving the ability to hold subjects appropriately accountable.

The steps in combating sexual assault include:

KNOW YOUR PART

  • Each member of our Guard community has a unique role in preventing and responding to sexual assault.
  • We must recognize our part in stopping this crime starting with our own awareness and knowing when and where to safely intervene.

DO YOUR PART

  • We have to act.
  • If we see a crime or inappropriate behavior unfolding, we need to step in to safely intervene to stop potential offenders from committing the act.
  • We each need to add our voice to the call to end this crime.

HELP IS AVAILABLE 24/7

  • Users can “click, call or text” for anonymous and confidential support
  • Information is at www.sapr.mil or www.safehelpline.org
  • Call 1-877-995-5247
  • Text 55-247 (inside the US)

You can reach Charles Lay at (502) 607-1276 or by cell at (502) 545-6042 or email him at charles.r.lay.civ@mail.mil

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