MOFFETT FEDERAL AIRFIELD, Calif. --
Imagine that a co-worker is sexually assaulted by another member in the unit. Do you think you'll be impacted?
The answer is yes.
"Experts and practitioners often describe the negative consequences of sexual assault as having a ripple effect, starting with the victim and expanding outward to include families, friends, work colleagues, neighbors, and increasingly larger parts of the population," according to the Department of Defense SAPR Office.
This month is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the SAAM theme this year is, "Hurts one. Affects All." This theme focuses on how sexual assault negatively impacts mission readiness - it harms the life of the victim and the military's ability to work effectively as a team.
As a wingman, if the signs are there, do you prefer to stand by and let your fellow Airmen be sexually assaulted, which consequently obliterates unit cohesion? No. You can make a world of difference, not only to the victim, but also for the unit.
According to the Department of Defense SAPR Office, mission readiness is negatively impacted in three ways.
1. The alleged perpetrators are often placed on administrative hold and therefore cannot deploy with their units.
2. Victims may not be able to fulfill their duties or may otherwise have their ability to perform the mission compromised as a result of the traumatic events.
3. The attention of the unit leadership shifts from the normal duties involved in maintaining readiness to addressing a victim's needs, investigating the alleged perpetration, and restoring the unit's cohesion and trust.
As the wing's Sexual Assault Readiness Coordinator, or SARC, I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight not only SAAM, but also update you on changes with the wing's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program.
The first big change is critical to the success of the wing SAPR program - volunteer victim advocates. Recently the 129th brought on board two new victim advocates to the wing SAPR program. Our new VAs are Master Sgt. Lindsey Bartlett from the 561st Band and Ms. Carolann Wunderlin, coordinator for the wing Family Programs office.
Both Sergeant Bartlett and Ms. Wunderlin are first responders - they take victim reports, provide emotional support to survivors, research and guide survivors to resources, and report assaults to the wing SARC. Like the SARC, conversations with the VA are confidential!
Whether you know someone who was sexually assaulted or you survived a sexual assault 10 years ago, please don't hesitate to contact our VAs for assistance. You'll find the Victim Advocates' contact information listed on flyers posted throughout the wing. Sergeant Bartlett and Ms. Wunderlin's information is also listed here, along with other helpful SAPR resources:
129th RQW Sexual Assault Response Coordinator
Capt Alyson Teeter
129th RQW SARC (alternate)
Lt Col Pete Sobrino
129th RQW Victim Advocate
MSgt Lindsey Bartlett
129th RQW Victim Advocate
Ms. Carolann Wunderlin
129th RQW Embedded Counselor
Mr. Jim Arjani
129th RQW Security Forces
129th RQW Chaplain
California Coalition Against Sexual Assault
(enter zip for list of local rape crisis centers)