Is it working?

  • Published
  • By Col. "Tip" Stinnette
  • 39th Air Base Wing Commander
"Is it working? That was the question I was asked at the USAFE Commanders'
Conference in March after briefing our approach to an increase in alcohol related incidents and sexual assaults. My answer was a qualified "We don't know." Generally, I prefer quantitative data over qualitative observations.

However, in this case I don't mind offering the observation that "it appears to be working." You, we, and us have done an outstanding job in increasing our situational awareness, aptitude, and IQ on alcohol related incidents and sexual assaults.

Our Jan. 20 issue of the Tip of the Sword was dedicated to covering this issue, our
10-minute AFN special on the same subject was seen by millions on the Pentagon channel, and parts of our DIGITCON program are now an Air Force benchmark!

This month is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. It reminds that we can never declare victory in the war against sexual assault.

We need to keep beating this drum -- the second we stop beating it ... bam, we'll be back at square-one.

This article serves as our Team Incirlik proclamation that we value every member of our team and that awareness, education, and enforcement are our watchwords for ensuring that we are free of any and all acts that diminish us as individuals and a team ... easily put, sexual assault has no place in our community!

When members of our community are victims of sexual assault we all are diminished.

At that point we must begin to pick up the pieces and support each other. We must meet the courage of those victims that come forward with equal courage and dedication to eliminate the threat to our community. We must commit all the resources we have to support the victims and ensure that it never happens again.

We promise that every victim will be treated with absolute dignity and respect.

When a victim reports a sexual assault, the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator will reach out to offer victim advocacy services which include a trained volunteer Victim Advocate who will accompany the member through the medical, counseling, investigative, and prosecution processes. Our SARC, Capt. Kim Bell, is recognized throughout USAFE as a compassionate and dedicated professional who is committed to the mission of synchronizing our victim support, educating our community, and increasing our awareness.

Reporting a sexual assault is not easy, and it is understandable. Those who do are faced with reliving their account. But with the restricted reporting option, every victim will have the opportunity to regain control of their lives with time to heal, physically and emotionally. The point behind reporting options is victim support and tempo control.

Our community of support advocates are truly committed to their jobs and in most cases the victim often elects to un-restrict previously restricted reports so that the investigatory process can begin. If you are a victim of sexual assault or know someone who is a victim, please seek out the services of our SARC.

We must also commit ourselves to prevention of sexual violence. There is no place for predators in our community. If you think about it and increase your situational awareness the prevention part is easy.

Wingmen and flight leads are the prevention ingredients.

The legal consequences of sexual assault can be life altering ... federal conviction, imprisonment, dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of pay, and registration as a sex offender are among the roster of recourses for offenders.

Stop, think, and act to prevent.

Its spring break, sun, and friends. Let's make the most of our time here and make responsible choices by employing the wingman and flight lead concepts. Together we can make this summer a safe and enjoyable one. Remember this proclamation and we hope you will participate in the many events we have scheduled to raise awareness this month while Team Incirlik Ensures Freedom's Future!