by Air Force Staff Sgt. Robert Barnett
673d Air Base Wing Public Affairs
4/9/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Alaska
- Nearly one in every five women, or 20 million, have been raped in
their lifetime in the U.S. Approximately one in 71 men, or almost 1.6
million, have been raped during their life. Roughly 33.5 percent of
multiracial women have been raped. Around 27 percent of American Indian
and Alaska Native women have been raped. About 15 percent of Hispanic,
22 percent of black and 19 percent of white women have been raped,
according to a report released from the White House in January.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
On Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, reports of sexual assault or similar
crimes have increased, said Army Capt. Danyelle Kemp, U.S. Army Alaska
Sexual Harassment Assault Response and Prevention division program
The two main types of reports are restricted and unrestricted reporting.
Survivors who use restricted reporting disclose the crime to specific
individuals within an organization such as the Sexual Assault Response
Coordinator, a victim advocate, a health care provider, a legal
assistance attorney or chaplain. In addition to these resources,
survivors who use unrestricted reporting disclose the crime to their
chain of command and security forces to begin an official investigation
of the crime.
"Within the last six months, we've seen a gradual uptick in the numbers
of males reporting sexual assaults," Kemp said. "Along with that, we've
seen a significant increase in the numbers of unrestricted reports.
Sometimes a report starts restricted and gets changed to unrestricted
later on; these have actually started unrestricted."
The increase in reporting is likely due to two things, Kemp said.
"People are starting to feel more comfortable coming to their commands
[with the issue]. Secondly, I feel that the repeal of 'don't ask, don't
tell' has had a huge impact on this."
Other variables are also possible reasons for the increase.
"I think that the Special Victims Counsel plays a huge role in that
change because they walk the survivor through the legal process from
start to finish," said Darmaly Williams, 673d Air Base Wing Sexual
Assault Response Coordinator.
"I think that, on base or Air Force-wide, we're doing a much better job
of spreading awareness and just making people feel a little easier about
coming forward and going after the people who commit these crimes,
because it is a crime," said Chief Master Sgt. Call, 673d Air Base Wing
People should feel welcome to talk to their officials and report any incidents, Call said.
"You've got to make people comfortable enough to come and talk to you
when they have problems," he said. "It's unfortunate that it continues
to be a problem."
"I think that awareness may be encouraging people to come forward a
little more," Call said. "I definitely recommend seeking help if
something's going on. Contact the SARC. We try to encourage the
unrestricted report so we can go after the person who did it, make them
pay for the crime they committed so they aren't still out there doing
things to other people, but we don't deter restricted reporting."
The presidential administration has adopted a series of executive
actions to address sexual assault in the military - including measures
to improve command accountability, expand victim's rights within the
military justice system, increase training across the ranks and provide
new support for victims.
"It is up to all of us to ensure victims of sexual violence are not left
to face these trials alone," said President Barack Obama in the report.
"Too often, survivors suffer in silence, fearing retribution, lack of
support, or that the criminal justice system will fail to bring the
perpetrator to justice."
Most victims know their assailant. The vast majority - nearly 98 percent
- of perpetrators are male. Young people are especially at risk: nearly
50 percent of female survivors were raped before the age of 18; more
than 25 percent of male survivors were raped before the age of 10; one
in five women are sexually assaulted while in college. Repeated
victimization is common, according to the report.
"We must do more than raise awareness about the realities of sexual
assault; confront and change insensitive attitudes wherever they
persist; enhance training and education in the criminal justice system;
and expand access to critical health, legal and protection services for
survivors," said Obama, who first declared April to be Sexual Assault
Awareness and Prevention Month in 2009.
There is also a directive for each service to provide all victims of
sexual assault with legal counsel who will be at a victim's side at
every step of the process.
"From the time that it is told to the SARC and handed off to the Office
of Special Investigations, the next step is to take that victim over to
Special Victim Advocate so they can help them through that whole
process," Call said.
For more information on the different programs and resources related to
sexual assault and prevention, contact the Sexual Assault Response
Coordinator at 551-2033/2035 or the USARAK SHARP program at