Story by: Spc. Melissa Anderson - 42nd Infantry Division Public Affairs Dated: Tue, Apr 20, 2010
Stopping sexual assaults from happening is every service members job, says Chief Warrant Officer Heather Langley, the Joint Forces Headquarters- New York’s Sexual Assault Response Coordinator.
And as the Department of Defense recognizes Sexual Assault Awareness Month this April, every Soldier and Airman should recognize sexual assault in all it’s forms, and be an active participant in preventing it, she said.
Sexual assault affects the victim and their mission, which can impact the unit and degrade its readiness, Langley explained.
“Every month should be Sexual Assault Awareness Month, but I’m glad they take one month to dedicate awareness to it,” said Langley. “The statistics are going up.”
The 2010 Department of Defense’s theme for this months iis “Hurts one. Affects all. Preventing sexual assault is everyone’s duty.”
The Department of Defense defines sexual assault as intentional sexual conduct characterized by the use of force, physical threat or abuse of authority or when the victim does not or cannot consent.
Langley hopes that by creating a climate where sexual harassment and assault are not tolerated, other people will stand up and intervene in situations where sexual assault could occur.
“Sexual assault needs to be reported immediately,” said Langley. “If there is an incident, the victim should be treated with dignity and respect for privacy.”
Langley encourages Soldiers to remember sexual assault is never the victim’s fault, and there are resources within the National Guard to assist them.
There are victim advocates in units and wings that work on getting information out about sexual assault.
“The victim advocates help the victims decide reporting options and work with them until the victim feels they don’t need a victim advocate,” said Langley.
If a Soldier needs help, they should contact Chief Langley at (518) 339-7586 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org