Spangdahlem continues sexual-assault training

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- The 52nd Fighter Wing is continuing its sexual assault awareness training through the use of small group sessions like the one held here May 7, 2014.

Air Force leadership mandated awareness training in response to the Department of Defense announcing a Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness day April 18, 2014.

Some Airmen could not attend the mass training date due to mission requirements, leave or official travel. However, the Air Force requires 100 percent of its service members undergo the training by May 16. To meet the deadline, many of the base's SAPR facilitators are conducting small-group sessions which focus on offender patterns, wingman responsibilities and assault-reporting procedures.

"The small groups bring it home," said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Kahterine Devine-Ebert, SAPR facilitator for the 52nd FW staff agencies from Colorado Springs, Colo. "They reemphasize one of the main goals of sexual assault awareness: You, personally, can do something to help or prevent sexual assault."

She said one of the Air Force's greatest strengths is that the attendees of the training sessions come from such diverse backgrounds. Each person adds a unique perspective and the Air Force grows stronger by relying on its cultural differences. The many training sessions are similar in that they have the same material the facilitator must teach, but the lines of discussion differ based on the group's dynamics.

"I feel that the small group discussions are more productive," said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Chelsea Williams, 52nd FW Command Post emergency actions controller from Converse, Texas. "It's easier for people to speak out in these settings than at a mass briefing, and hearing someone's personal story has more weight."

The culture is changing, Devine-Ebert said, and people are finally beginning to understand that certain behavior is simply not acceptable.

"I'm thankful of today's Air Force," Williams said regarding the way some may have addressed sexual assault half a century ago. "If something is wrong or something bad has happened, you can speak out without fear of ridicule."

Spangdahlem Airmen who missed the mass SAPR training date will need to contact their unit's SAPR facilitator or the main SAPR office at DSN 452-6524 or 06565-61-6524.