VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – Team Vance leadership cut the ribbon on a new Sexual Assault Response Coordinator facility during a ceremony April 1 to kick off the base’s annual Sexual Assault Awareness Month campaign.
The old SARC facility lacked anonymity and comforting resources for victims, and suffered reliability issues with basic utilities. The new facility solves these issues, said Stephanie Armel, the 71st Flying Training Wing’s SARC program manager.
“It now meets the needs of our Airmen, and we have the tools to better accommodate them,” said Armel. “For us, tools aren’t just computers and technology; it’s the location and the whole environment.”
One important facet of the new facility is a comfort room for victims to feel safe while sharing their story. The comfort room provides couches, blankets, soft lighting and comfort items to better help accommodate victims.
“As a sexual assault victim it was uncomfortable going to the old facility, as it was obvious to everyone where you were going,” a survivor said under condition of anonymity. “With the new facility’s location and resources, it is not only more welcoming, but it also gives you more privacy … without announcing to everyone why you’re there.”
“Our number one goal is to keep the privacy of our Airmen and to make the victim feel as safe and secure as possible when coming to us,” said Armel.
The new facility is in Building 200 amongst other offices, which allows the victim to go to SARC less conspicuously than before.
“The last thing you want is somebody who is already under a lot of stress to walk into an environment like we had before which did not put you at ease,” said Col. Jay Johnson, 71st FTW commander. “Now people have the opportunity to come in, be at ease, and tell their story which is exactly the environment we wanted to create.”