Military News

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Climate change: eliminating sexual assault

by Senior Airman Benjamin Raughton
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

6/10/2015 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Barksdale's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office hosted Jeffrey Bucholtz, an activist, public speaker and co-director of We End Violence, to reinforce Team Barksdale's goal of eliminating sexual assault through the annual SAPR training seminar here, June 5-6.

Bucholtz brought a message of culture change to Team Barksdale, encouraging the military community to create an atmosphere that doesn't blame the victims of sexual assault and lets sexual predators know their behavior isn't tolerated.

"The problem is you don't know who [sexual predators] are... neither do the inspector generals, neither does the legal team, no one knows," said Bucholtz.

Since rapists don't announce themselves, it's up to everyone to participate in bringing about the needed change, he said.

"We've got to change the way we talk, change the way we think... what we listen to and comment on it when necessary."

Sex must be consensual. If not, it's rape. There are no blurred lines; yes means yes, and everything else means no, Bucholtz reiterated.

The activist from San Diego also described solutions to help victims of rape, letting them know they have options and that rape is never the victim's fault. Solutions begin with three short phrases that can send a message of hope to the victim:

How can I help?

I'm so sorry.

It's not your fault.

"How can I help? That means [victims] have options instead of telling them what they need to do. I'm so sorry means I believe you. It's not your fault means it is never the victim's fault," Bucholtz said emphatically.

Capt. Elise Manley, 20th Bomb Squadron electronics warfare officer, attended the seminar.

"This training is phenomenal and the culture of sexual assault prevention and response training has completely changed," she said. "We're here to stop the culture of rape, support each other and show that it's not the... victim's fault. We're here to support them."

Bucholtz concluded his message by challenging all Airmen to take responsibility and change the culture so people who are raped can come forward, feel safe and rapists will stop thinking what they're doing is acceptable.

"I don't know what that uniform means to you, but for most people, you are our leaders. You are heroes."

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