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TEC closes Sexual Assault Awareness Month with kid gloves

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. - Nicole D. Wicker, center, prevention coordinator for Blount County Children's Advocacy Center, facilitates the Stewards of Children, Adult Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program here, April 30, 2014 at the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Kurt Skoglund/Released)

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. - Nicole D. Wicker, center, prevention coordinator for Blount County Children's Advocacy Center, facilitates the Stewards of Children, Adult Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program here, April 30, 2014 at the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Kurt Skoglund/Released)

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. -- It was called by one attendee a "difficult thing to discuss," but a community speaker and a handful of others still spoke carefully about child sexual abuse here April 30 to close Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Airmen from the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center and the 134th Air Refueling Wing were joined by the Blount County Children's Advocacy Center at Wingman Hall.

The advocacy center's Nicole Wicker facilitated a "Stewards of Children" workshop on how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse, said Tammie Smeltzer, TEC's sexual assault and response coordinator and director of professional and continuing education.

Smeltzer said that the TEC works with community experts to help increase awareness and decrease instances of sexual assault.

A workshop video reported that one in 10 children is sexually abused before their 18th birthday. The greatest risk to children doesn't come from strangers but from friends and family.

In that regard, Smeltzer said Airmen and the community should know how to protect children and minimize the opportunity for child sexual abuse. More than 80 percent of sexual abuse cases occur in isolated, one-on-one situations.

That and other information for awareness and response can be obtained through the SARC Office, 865-336-3859.