April marks Sexual Assault Awareness Month

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Kaseyann Cornwall
  • 72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

April is recognized nationally as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, both across the country and within the Department of Defense. This month serves as an extension of ongoing efforts to enhance awareness and prevent and eradicate sexual assault through public education initiatives.

SAAPM is highlighted in April, but the issue of sexual assault remains crucial throughout the year. SAAPM serves several critical purposes:

  • Raising Awareness: SAAPM educates the public about the prevalence of sexual assault and its impact on survivors, families, communities, and society.
  • Prevention: SAAPM focuses on strategies and initiatives to stop sexual assault before it occurs through consent education and bystander intervention training.
  • Supporting Survivors: SAAPM emphasizes the importance of supporting survivors, reducing stigma, and encouraging access to resources.
  • Advocacy and Policy Change: SAAPM involves advocacy efforts to influence policies related to sexual assault prevention and survivor support.
  • Cultural Shift: SAAPM contributes to a cultural shift towards greater understanding, empathy, and respect for all individuals.

This year’s SAAPM campaign at Tinker AFB challenges everyone to foster positive change within our community. It emphasizes speaking out and reporting inappropriate behaviors instead of being passive bystanders. The campaign stresses that personal commitment from each individual is essential in strengthening the culture necessary to eliminate sexual assault.

“SAAPM is important because it shines a spotlight on sexual assault, promotes prevention and support initiatives, advocates for policy changes, and works towards creating a society free from sexual violence,” said Jennifer Matlock-Boggs, 72nd Air Base Wing Sexual Assault/Harassment Prevention and Response victim advocate.

The SAPR team is actively coordinating events to engage the community with various activities aimed at raising awareness, increasing education, and showing support to survivors. The team has spent months brainstorming, developing, and planning activities to inspire the Tinker community to engage in conversations around sexual assault and harassment.

The events include: 

  • Human Trafficking in Oklahoma – April 3, from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Tinker Event Center: Presentation by Homeland Security Investigations on trafficking in Oklahoma.
  • Discussion Panel – April 9, at 9:00 a.m. at the Tinker Event Center: Discussion panel on sexual harassment and sexual assault featuring SAPR, equal opportunity representatives, judge advocates, special agents from the Office of Special Investigations and service members from the Security Forces Office.
  • Senior Leader Scenarios – April 12, at 1:30 p.m. and at 3:00 p.m. at the Tinker Event Center: This is a way for senior leaders to gain experience for when an Airman or Civilian comes to report a sexual assault. SAPR advocates will walk through a real-life scenario with senior leaders to help ensure empathy, compassion, and understanding when interacting with victim or survivors. This will provide insight into options and resources that are available for victim or survivors in their time of need. Followed by a Q&A session with SAPR staff.
  • Can You See Me? – April 17, at 9:30 a.m. at the Tinker Event Center: The guest speaker will be Heath Phillips, a Military Sexual Assault survivor and a public speaker and Trainer surrounding sexual assault and harassment and all topics related to these issues.
  • Denim Day 2024 Mass Aerial Photo – April 24, at 10:00 a.m. at Tinker AFB Air Park: Wear your jeans and teal shirts.
  • SAAPM 5K – April 26, at 9:00 a.m. at the Tinker Event Center: T-shirts guaranteed for the first 75 registrants. To register go to: https://eventbrite.com/e/saapm-5k-tickets-857158091927
  • Clothing Drive – April 30, the SAPR office (Bldg. 1, door 6, room 2b) is accepting donations for local non-profits who provide sexual assault forensic exams to our military and civilian community free of charge. Often, victims must relinquish their clothing for evidence. Donations will ensure victims have new clothes to wear home. Needs: new sock, new sports bras, new underwear, new or gently used cold weather clothing, new or gently used sweatpants.
  • Healing Thru Art – April 30, art contest winners will be announced.
  • Library Book Giveaway – April 30, the Tinker SAPR Office is hosting a book giveaway throughout April at the Tinker AFB Library to spread awareness and support for Sexual Assault Survivors.

For more information about SAAPM activities at Tinker AFB or to get involved, contact the SAPR Office at (405) 734-9293.