KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss.-- “Protecting our people protects our mission,” said Glen Popejoy, 81st Training Wing Sexual Assault Prevention and Response manager. “We implement a sexual assault prevention program through the use of prevention training that focuses on consent, awareness, intervention and building healthy interpersonal relationship skills.”
The SAPR program prioritizes the prevention, mitigation and response of sexual assault of military members, their spouses, dependents aged 18 and older, and Defense Department civilians. Eliminating all forms of sexual assault is the ambition of the Air Force with prevention efforts being a main focus.
“Focusing on building healthy relationships and intervening when noticing any dangerous signs are the primary ways of preventing sexual assault,” said Popejoy. “Reporting any unhealthy or dangerous activity in a relationship that you notice as a bystander is the best way to prevent outside of a relationship. Through the creation of a strong culture of dignity, respect and healthy interpersonal relationships, we can reduce the incidence of sexual assault while working towards our goal of eliminating it all together.”
The SAPR office provides first-class response to victims of sexual assault through their reporting options.
A restricted report is handled with confidentiality and is only communicated through trained and certified SAPR personnel, usually victim advocates. The advocate provides the victim with access to any medical, mental health or other services they need without making it public.
An unrestricted report is reported to the chain of command, law enforcement including the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, and otherwise only to those with an official need to know.
A third-party report is from a witness outside of the situation to the chain of command and must be reported to OSI and law enforcement. The SAPR office can still handle the situation confidentially at the victim’s choice.
In every scenario, victims have access to services they need and a victim advocate.
“It is critical for victims to have reporting options, access to services, and to elect their own path of recovery at a time and pace of their choosing,” said Popejoy. “It is about regaining control. We want victims to feel comfortable with our office. We are operating at all times and will never share their privacy without their consent unless an exception applies.”
Popejoy encourages any victim of sexual assault to notify their local SAPR office as soon as possible.
“You don’t have to go through this alone,” said Popejoy. “Sexual assault is a crime, is inconsistent with Air Force values, and is an issue we take very seriously. There is a team of trained professionals that want to help. We are on your side and we care about your well-being. Please trust in the process and get help if you need it. The SAPR Office can be contacted 24/7 at 228-377-7278.”