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SAPR Stand-Down Day
5th Bomb Wing commander Col. Alex Mezynski addresses Airmen during the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Stand-Down Day all-call at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., May 22, 2014. The all-call, which was part one of the Air Force’s annual resiliency training, included ways to identify an offender and options for anyone affected by sexual assault. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Lauren Pitts)
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Team Minot stands down for SAPR

Posted 5/27/2014   Updated 5/27/2014 Email story   Print story

    


by Airman 1st Class Apryl Hall
Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs


5/27/2014 - MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Military members are no strangers to sexual assault awareness events. Whether it is a small-group briefing or a base-wide awareness 5K run, there has been no shortage of outreach events hosted throughout military installations, especially in the recent years. During these events, the focus is most likely on one person: the victim.

In an effort to be proactive; a different kind of training is circulating throughout the Air Force. The annual Sexual Assault Response and Prevention training is split into two different topics, and started with a SAPR Stand-Down Day which focused on identifying offenders.

"There's been a huge push by the Air Force to eliminate sexual assault in the military and that's why they've come up with new innovative training to try to combat that," said Reagan Gagne, 5th Bomb Wing SAPR program manager. "It's always been victim-centered and we don't want people to have the perception that victims are the problem."

By focusing on the offenders, the hope was to teach bystanders how to recognize them and prevent them from acting.

"We want to get the word out to the community about how to identify offenders' characteristics and behaviors," Gagne said. "The training will help people be on the lookout and hopefully self-identify and stop those behaviors."

After holding focus groups at a variety of bases, it was concluded that most Airmen preferred receiving their SAPR training through small-group discussions. At Minot Air Force Base, Airmen were expected to attend one installation-wide all-call and one small-group discussion, completing the four hours of required training before the end of May.

"The focus groups not only discuss offender dynamic, but also how bystanders can act," said 1st Lt. Jessica Hellmann, 5th BW SAPR deputy. "It's a small group and discussion-based, so there is a lot of interaction between the facilitator and the class."

The all-call portion of the training mostly focused on statistics and reporting information. A highlight of the all-call was the showing of the "Jack" video. The video, which is from the offender's point of view, tells the story of an incident that was not intended to be malicious, but results in rape. The offender describes how he felt during and after the incident and how it affects both individuals' lives.

"I just really hope people come in with open minds and actually listen to what is being said because it's important information," Hellmann said. "Though we may think we know everything there is to know about a topic, there is always something to learn."

The all-call, hosted by both the 5th BW and 91st Missile Wing commanders, also touched on the importance of taking care of one another and protecting the members of our Air Force family.

"Having both wing commanders working together is going to send a very positive message," Gagne said. "We're a team at Minot, and we care about everyone on the team."

The second part of the annual SAPR training, which will take place later this year, will focus on understanding victims.



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