News: Candlelight Vigil: Troopers gather in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Story by Pvt. Kourtney Grimes
GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba - “This April, we pause to observe the tenth annual Sexual Assault Awareness Month with the theme ‘Live our Values: Step Up to Stop Sexual Assault,’” said Staff Sgt. Rigoberto Gomez with the 3rd Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment.
Candles in hand, members of the 3-89th and other Joint Task Force Troopers walked solemnly down Windmill Beach Road for the Sexual Assault Candlelight Vigil that took place on Tuesday April 1 as the first event of National Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The one-mile walk to raise awareness trailed from Pirate’s Cove to the JTF Headquarters and back.
One of the many events scheduled for this month, the candlelight vigil brought the very pertinent issue of sexual assault into light. By bringing up the problem, Gomez, was able to address the steps needed to take to keep this inexcusable crime out of our profession, the U.S. military.
“Each of us need to make a personal commitment to reduce risk, stop inappropriate behavior, do not ignore, tolerate or condone sexual assault,” said Gomez. “We must ‘live our values’ every day, all year long and ‘step up’ by intervening when appropriate, reporting crimes and supporting victims.”
In an environment where troopers must rely on one another for their safety and mission completion, anything that causes a lack of trust must be taken out of the equation. That is why, in the family of the military services, such intolerable acts are inexcusable.
“We all are a family, and as a family we all have an important role on eliminating this heinous crime from our house,” said Gomez. “We recognize that this affects all of us, that one is one too many, but that all of us together are the solution to ultimately eliminating sexual assault in our family.”
Aside from striving to prevent further act of this crime, the Sexual Assault Candlelight Vigil was a time to keep in mind those who have been affected while showing our commitment to support them.
“We want to take time to remember and honor our victims and survivors and all affected by sexual assault. We want to remind you that you are not alone, and that we are with you,” said Gomez.
“I would do anything for her,” Pfc. Dylan Janson confessed when speaking about a friend who committed suicide following an act of sexual assault.
As an advocate for the awareness and prevention of sexual assault at home and in our military services, Janson does his best to show his support at these events for those who have been effected by these acts.
“I don’t appreciate anyone who would do it, and I will do anything I can to help stop it,” said Janson.
This work, Candlelight Vigil: Troopers gather in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, by PV2 Kourtney Grimes, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.