News: Military members not immune to sexual assault
Story by Sgt. Darron Salzer
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Sexual assault, one of our nation’s most underreported violent crimes, is a national problem, and the military is not immune, the director of the DOD’s office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response said Nov. 2.
“Some statistics say that one-in-four people in today’s society will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime,” said Dr. Kaye Whitley, “and that is absolutely staggering to me.
“Since the military is a cross-section of society, it is inevitable that the problems that occur in society will be brought into the military, but sexual assault is not acceptable, and we know that problems such as these are factors in degrading mission readiness and unit cohesion.”
Whitley, one of several speakers during the National Guard Bureau SAPR Leadership summit, helped kick off the three-day summit and promised “those of you in attendance will leave this summit thinking very differently about sexual assault.”
The SAPR program began in 2004, after then Sec. Donald Rumsfeld reviewed reports concerning the lack of care victims received downrange.
”Since the beginning, the goal of the SAPR program has been to enable every Soldier, Sailor, Airmen and Marine to serve their country without fear of being sexually assaulted,” she said.
Whitley likened the prevention part of the SAPR program to the recent “friends don’t let friends drive drunk” campaigns saying, “if you see the potential for something bad to happen, intervene safely.”
“We’re already used to looking out for our battle-buddies in the military, and preventing sexual assault before it occurs is something we all can do,” she said. “We also want people to be able to come forward.
“No victim should live in silence about being sexually assaulted.”