WASHINGTON -- In an effort to address the growing concern of sexual assault in the Air Force, the service has kicked off an initiative to give Airmen the capability for their voice to be clearly heard called "Every Airman Counts."
"I believe Airmen are a key part of the solution to this," said. Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward, the director of the Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office. "They understand the problem, and they know what needs to be done to help conquer it. Now we need them to share those innovative ideas with us and each other. We need our Airmen talking about this issue." To enable this dialogue, the Air Force SAPR office members designed a blog to share ideas, collect suggestions, concerns, stories, and questions for Air Force leaders and SAPR officials. The SAPR blog site asks Airmen to make inputs on how the service can better combat sexual assault.
"We can't fix this issue sitting in the Pentagon," said Gen. Larry Spencer, the Air Force vice chief of staff. "We need each and every one of you to get engaged in addressing this issue... this crime, and it is a crime. We need to know exactly where you feel the issues are, so we can address them with laser focus. I need every one of you helping us find ways to ensure dignity and respect are prevailing qualities in our daily relationships." Content on the site will be driven in part by Airmen making firsthand posts. In addition to the blog, the Air Force is organizing web chats that will be moderated forums for real-time information exchange between Airmen, subject matter experts and senior leaders.
Various experts in the SAPR area will host these discussions to gain a better understanding of the issues at every level. "We've been doing a lot of talking on this issue," Woodward said. "It's important that we listen." The SAPR blog is just one of many actions the Air Force is pursuing to help address the issues sexual assault within the ranks and to offer support for victims. Other actions include the creation of the Special Victims Counsel program earlier this year, which provides constant support to sexual assault victims throughout the legal process.
Airmen can view the blog and make posts by logging into the Air Force portal with their Defense Department Common Access Card, and clicking on the photo tab titled Every Airman Counts or go to http://afsapr.dodlive.mil.
"'Every Airman Counts is about you, our Airmen, our most precious resource," Spencer said. "Our strength lies in our people, so we're asking all of our teammates to help us stop sexual assaults now. The American people place great trust and confidence in our military. We cannot and will not violate that trust."