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ARPC commander's message: Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Air Reserve Personnel Center Sexual Assault Prevention and Response representatives Tech. Sgt. Wynetta Thomas, Master Sgt. Joi Pearson and Tech. Sgt. Letitia Edwards bring awareness and are available to provide assistance to ARPC professionals during Sexual Assault Awareness Month April 7, 2015, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Cindy Dewey)

Air Reserve Personnel Center Sexual Assault Prevention and Response representatives Tech. Sgt. Wynetta Thomas, Master Sgt. Joi Pearson and Tech. Sgt. Letitia Edwards bring awareness and are available to provide assistance to ARPC professionals during Sexual Assault Awareness Month April 7, 2015, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Cindy Dewey)

Air Reserve Personnel Center Sexual Assault Prevention and Response representatives Master Sgt. Joi Pearson, Tech. Sgt. Wynetta Thomas and Tech. Sgt. Letitia Edwards discuss items they have to offer during Sexual Assault Awareness Month with Nicole Johnson, Staff Sergeant Tiffany Hartman and Senior Airman Iliah Duncan April 7, 2015, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. SAPR representatives bring awareness and are available to provide assistance to ARPC professionals. (U.S. Air Force photo/Cindy Dewey)

Air Reserve Personnel Center Sexual Assault Prevention and Response representatives Master Sgt. Joi Pearson, Tech. Sgt. Wynetta Thomas and Tech. Sgt. Letitia Edwards discuss items they have to offer during Sexual Assault Awareness Month with Nicole Johnson, Staff Sergeant Tiffany Hartman and Senior Airman Iliah Duncan April 7, 2015, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. SAPR representatives bring awareness and are available to provide assistance to ARPC professionals. (U.S. Air Force photo/Cindy Dewey)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- ARPC Professionals, this month is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. As you know, our approach is to emphasize Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention daily. Even so, we will provide special emphasis during the month of April and we have additional training scheduled for our Wingman Day May 7. To kick things off, I want to provide you with some quick guidance.

WE ARE ALL LEADERS:
As leaders we must know and do our part! At ARPC, our organization maintains a superior Culture of Respect. Our latest Unit Climate Assessment results bear that out. Even so, let's endeavor to constantly improve our culture. There are some simple things we can do to strengthen our Culture of Respect; know our part, do our part, and subscribe to a policy of ZERO TOLERANCE when it comes to sexist behavior, predatory behavior, sexual harassment, and sexual assault.

KNOW OUR PART:
It is every Airman's responsibility to know our part in preventing sexist behavior, predatory behavior, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. As we live by our Air Force Core Values, our daily conduct must always foster a Culture of Respect. No person with whom we engage should ever lose their dignity due to our behavior. 
 
We live in a Wingman culture. We, therefore, rely on our team to support and protect us. When we don't provide that support and a member of our team becomes a victim, we erode trust. Trust is the essence of any successful organization. Lack of trust can be fatal to a military organization. We must perform as steadfast Wingmen. That is why it is UNACCEPTABLE for an Airman to be aware of sexist behavior, predatory behavior, sexual harassment, or sexual assault and do nothing about it. There is no such thing as an innocent bystander. Intervention IS REQUIRED.

DO OUR PART:
It is one thing to know our part, but it is another to DO OUR PART. When we see sexist behavior, predatory behavior, sexual harassment, or sexual assault, we MUST step in to stop it. This is simple to say, but sometimes difficult to execute. Every situation is different. As a result, appropriate action is different from one situation to the next. Intervention, then, is always required, but how we intervene is not always clear.
First and foremost, be safe. There are circumstances where calling the authorities is the best bet. Many cases, however, simply involve a few words to correct unprofessional behavior. Sometimes the words of a peer are all that is needed to stop the chain of escalation. We can always use our chain of command to help correct bad behavior. We have had much training on this sensitive subject and we will continue to train on this topic.

MY POLICY:
My policy is very simple: ZERO TOLERANCE. I have a wife, I have a daughter, I have a son, and I have granddaughters. My protective instinct is very high. Each and every Airman under my command is someone's daughter, son, granddaughter, grandson, mother, father, brother, or sister. I take my responsibility to keep you safe very seriously. If this is not enough (and in my mind it is), I have a responsibility to conduct our mission at peak effectiveness. Lack of a Culture of Respect erodes trust. Mistrust within our organization results in mission degradation or failure. We owe it to Generations of Airmen not to let that happen. My policy, therefore, is ZERO TOLERANCE for sexist behavior, predatory behavior, sexual harassment, or sexual assault. Please know your part and do your part in preventing these behaviors.