Hurts one, affects all

  • Published
  • By Dr. Thomas Appel-Schumacher
  • U.S. Air Forces in Europe Sexual Assault Response Coordinator
In relationships, sexual and otherwise, respect means listening and carefully considering the other's feelings and wants. Trust means there is confidence and the expectation that one person will not harm the other.

U.S. Air Forces in Europe bases are taking part in an awareness campaign in April for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This year's theme is "Hurts One. Affects All - Preventing sexual assault is everyone's duty." This message signifies the fact that sexual assault has far-reaching impact and will directly and indirectly affect everyone's ability to successfully complete USAFE's mission.

It's the seventh consecutive year that April has been designated for the campaign by DoD and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. This year the Air Force is launching its newest approach to prevention of this crime.

Bystander Intervention Training will teach in separate small groups (men only, women only, leaders only) at each installation how to intervene in social situations when it is apparent that a social interaction between two people is moving down the path of a potential sexual assault. When it looks like a dangerous situation is happening, we want bystanders to be aware that something is not right, be motivated to intervene in some way, and then to take a stand and do something.

Many Airmen do not yet understand how our mainstream contemporary culture is influencing how they think and how they pursue relationships. Stereotypes of women as inanimate sexual objects, and men only taking sexual conquests over women, are far from reality. Positive relationship building can only begin upon the foundation of respect and trust. Assaulting someone sexually follows values that are the exact opposite of those key concepts.

In Bystander Intervention Training, individual's myths and beliefs about sexual assault will be discussed and challenged. Facilitators will use input from the participants to illustrate issues and explain how intervention is the right thing to do.

USAFE leadership, both at the headquarters and across command installations, ask that Airmen be responsible Wingmen, not only in April but throughout their Air Force careers.

Without proper consent, sexual encounters can easily cross over a critical boundary and change from a consensual activity to one of a major crime. Use our strength to defend each others' respect, dignity, and to uphold the Air Force core values. 

April 4-5 Sex Signals at base theater (Monday 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and Tuesday 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 1:30 a.m.)
April 4-5 Information Table at base theater (Monday 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. and Tuesday 7 a.m. - 1:30 p.m)
April 5 Veteran's Affairs Lunch at Club Eifel at 11:30 a.m.
April 15 SAAM Bowl-A-Thon at Eiffel Lanes noon-4 p.m.
April 20 SAAM 5K Run at the Skelton Memorial Fitness Center at 4 p.m.
April 1-30 Rape Aggression Defense Class (All Tuesdays and Thursdays during April at Skelton Memorial Fitness Center)
April 19-20 Choose Respect Program with Spangdahlem Middle School (8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. each day)