Military News

Friday, April 10, 2015

"Stay Safe" event educates JBPHH keiki on sexual assault prevention

by Tech. Sgt. Terri Paden
15th Wing Public Affairs office


4/10/2015 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii  -- The Hickam Library hosted a special "Stay Safe" story time for JBPHH keiki April 8.

In recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month, Month of the Military Child and Sexual Assault Awareness Prevention Month, the hour-long event featured special guest appearances from the 15th Wing Sexual Assault Response Coordinator's office and the Federal Fire Department.

The interactive event highlighted the importance of the "Safe Touch Rule," and encouraged the group of 3 to 5 year olds to protect their bodies and report inappropriate touching.

According to Machelle Terrell, 15th Wing SARC, the training was created to complement the well-known "Stranger Danger" message and meant to raise the children's awareness to inappropriate behavior during every day interactions, not just in stranger situations.

With statistics showing only 10 percent of perpetrators of child sexual abuse are strangers to the child, Terrell said she and her staff want to be sure they are preparing children for the most realistic and common scenarios.

Chants such as, "my body belongs to me," accompanied by a puppet demonstration of appropriate places to touch and be touched were done to help the kids commit the concept to memory.

"This will help instill in them at a very young age things that are okay and things that are not okay," said Tech. Sgt. Christina Payton, a 15th Wing victim advocate. "If we start preventative training early, it may be easier for them to recognize and come forward when something bad has happened."

Payton said the wing Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office wanted to be sure prevention and response measures were provided to the entire community and not just to military members.

"It's important for kids to learn at a young age how to protect themselves and be safe when it comes to their body," said Sonja Dickinson, a parent at the Stay Safe event.

Dickinson said she found the environment to be age appropriate and fun, and the information uncomplicated for the children to understand.

"The format wasn't boring and the songs and repetitive chants make it easy for the kids to remember," she said.

The SAPR Office will be holding additional sexual assault prevention events for youth throughout the month of April. The Students Learning Attack Prevention Campaign will partner with security forces, police services, family advocacy and other base helping agencies to educate JBPHH youth on a variety of topics including internet safety and coaching respect.

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