ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. - Last month Ellsworth welcomed a new advocate for helping victims of sexual assault to regain their sense of power, Kelly Dominguez.
Dominguez, who has been at Ellsworth since July 2011 working as a community readiness consultant managing the Airman and Family Readiness Center’s transition assistance program, was named the base’s Sexual Assault Response coordinator. Prior to coming to Ellsworth, Dominguez was at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., for three years working as a PALACE acquire intern at the Nellis Airman and Family Readiness Center.
“I’m loving it,” Dominguez said on being selected the SARC. “I’m still getting settled in but really determined to get work started here at Ellsworth.”
Dominguez first learned of the SARC’s role through her participation in the victim advocacy program where she was able to meet and better know the former SARC, Shannon Holstein.
“I learned quickly that the sexual assault response coordinator is the installation’s single point of contact for coordinating sexual assault victim care services,” Dominguez said.
When Holstein left Ellsworth, Dominguez decided to apply for the position. Her education background made her a strong candidate. She was officially named the new SARC the first week of April.
“My goal is to educate Ellsworth airmen about what sexual assault is, how to prevent it and to also really get it clear what consent is,” said Dominguez. “We need to shift the accepted mindset that it’s okay to blame the victim because it’s not okay.”
For Dominguez, the sexual assault prevention response program is important because it reinforces the Air Force’s commitment to eliminating sexual assaults and ensuring victims receive the appropriate responsive care.
One key activity Dominguez will be taking on is developing a strong group of sexual assault victim advocates. Victim advocates are volunteer active-duty military personnel and Department of Defense civilians who provide crisis intervention, referral, and ongoing non-clinical support to victims of sexual assault. Eligible personnel interested in becoming a victim advocate must submit an application, have an interview with the SARC and complete 40 hours of training.
The next victim advocate training will begin the week of June 25, 2012 at the base Chapel Activities Center. Paper work and an interview are required prior to the training. For more information, call the SARC office at 385-SARC (7272).