SAPR stand-down day promotes zero-tolerance, new culture

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SAPR stand-down day promotes zero-tolerance, new culture

by: Airman 1st Class Marianique Santos | .
36th Wing Public Affairs | .
published: June 22, 2013

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Team Andersen conducted a sexual assault prevention and response stand-down day June 21 to meet a call for action from senior defense leaders.

Wing-wide commander's calls with different time slots were held to cater to Airmen with different shift schedules, as well as unit-directed calls and training to eradicate what military leaders have referred to as a "cancer" that could destroy the force.

The directive for the stand-down day came from U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who released a statement April 8 saying, "[Sexual assault] is damaging this [military] institution. There are thousands of victims in the department, male and female, whose lives and careers have been upended, and that is unacceptable. The current situation should offend every single service member and civilian who, like me, is proud of their association with the U.S. military."

Throughout the day, emphasis was made on promoting a climate and a culture that has zero tolerance for sexual assault.

"You should expect to be able to work in an area or a shop that has dignity and has respect for you as an individual, for you as an Airman and for you as a member of the team," said Col. Donald Drechsler, 36th Wing vice commander.

"There is zero tolerance -- I will emphasize it again, zero tolerance -- for any kind of sexual assault," he continued.

Squadron commanders were also directed to hold until-level calls, addressing ways to create a professional atmosphere in the work and dorm environments, encouraged wingmen to intervene in sexually sensitive situations and develop an environment where victims can come forward without fear of retaliation or reprisal.

"At every level we must do everything in our power to prevent [sexual assault] from happening," said Gen. Herbert Carlisle, Pacific Air Forces commander, in a video message showed at the wing-wide briefings. "Commanders, I expect you to take a hard line on this with a zero tolerance policy and demonstrate bold leadership. You are the most visible champion and must lead by example. You set the standard for your Airmen to follow, your Airmen should have no doubt that you will hold them accountable for violations of personal trust that we have on one another."

As the SAPR stand-down day marks a pivotal point in the movement toward a new culture that aims to rid sexual assault from the ranks, military leaders from every level call Airmen to not be part of the problem, but be part of the solution.

To speak with the 36th Wing Sexual Assault Response Coordinator or for more information regarding the SAPR program, call 366-7714.

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