Sexual Assault Awareness Month: Ask, act, intervene

Capt. Marissa Carlton is the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator for the 354th Fighter Wing, Eielson AFB, Alaska.

Capt. Marissa Carlton is the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator for the 354th Fighter Wing, Eielson AFB, Alaska.

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- April is designated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month and brings an opportunity to focus on sexual violence and its prevention. The DoD's theme for this year's SAAM is "Prevent Sexual Assault: Ask! Act! Intervene!"

Sexual assault in the armed service continues to be a problem. The DoD's fiscal year 2007 report on sexual assault in the Military was released in March 2008.

There were 2,688 total reports of sexual assault involving military service members, of these 601 involved Air Force members. Of those cases, 369 were unrestricted reports involving an Airman as either the subject or victim. The remaining 232 cases were restricted reports made by victims.

This year, the Eielson Sexual Assault Response Coordinator's office has planned several events to commemorate this month of awareness for both military members and the base community.

The "Clothesline Project" will run the entire month of April. Military and civilian personnel and their families are encouraged to decorate a T-shirt to express their feelings regarding sexual violence. Anonymous entries will be accepted.

T-shirts will be displayed in the commissary hallway to serve as a reminder to those victims suffering in silence that they are not alone. T-shirts will be returned following the end of the project.

A clothing and necessities drive will run April 15 to 30 to benefit the Interior Alaska Center for Non-Violent Living. Drop boxes will be located at various locations around base, to include the SARC office, commissary hallway, base gym, and community center. Currently, the shelter is especially in need of bath towels; spring clothing and toiletries are also needed.

The SARC office will coordinate, including donor scheduling, a community blood drive, to benefit the Blood Bank of Alaska, will take place 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 15, at the base theater. Eielson personnel and family members are encouraged to give blood.

The Interior Alaska Center will be sponsoring a movie night April 11, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the University Pub.

The "Take Back the Night" rally and march will be April 18. The rally will begin at 7 p.m. at Hutchison High School, followed by the march to University Avenue and Geist Road. There will be tons of food, door prizes and hopefully great weather.

For more information on SAAM activities or for information regarding Eielson's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program, contact your SARC office at 377-0027 or the 24-hour hotline at 377-7272.