Air Guard members run, stop to reflect on Sexual Assault

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith
  • I.G. Brown Training and Education Center
Air National Guard members here ran a 5K foot race recently to help bring awareness to sexual assault victim support and prevention and reflected later on its statistics.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Airmen from the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center ran April 20 near the University of Tennessee in support of the run/walk 5K East Tennessee Race Against Sexual Assault. They were joined by more than 35 enlisted professional military education students attending courses at the Center's Paul H. Lankford EMPE Center.

The run was organized by the Sexual Assault Center of East Tennessee. It helped raise more than $2,100 in nonprofit donations.

"A large part of that came from our students," said Tammie Smeltzer from the TEC's Media Engagement Division. "... We really appreciate it."

Smeltzer said that the TEC's sexual assault prevention program supports a strong partnership with community organizers to help increase awareness and decrease instances of sexual assault in and around the base.

About a dozen Airmen also had lunch at TEC's Spruance Hall April 24 with Liz Matthews, director of education and outreach for the Sexual Assault Center of East Tennessee.

Her nonprofit group supports 15 counties, and she shared the current statistics on sexual assault from the Knoxville area and the nation.

Matthews reported that one in three women and one in six men will become a victim of sexual assault in their lifetimes. Of those, about 80 percent are committed by someone the victim knows.

"The majority are not the stranger in the bushes that jump out at you ...," she said.

Additionally, dating-age teenage girls are four times more likely to be victims of sexual assault than the general population. Forty-four percent of sexual assault victims are under 18 and 80 percent are under 30.

With that information, Smeltzer said Airmen should keep in mind the differences between restricted and unrestricted reporting of a sexual assault.

Service members have the right to make a restricted report to their Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, Victim Advocate, or healthcare personnel to maintain confidentially while still receiving medical treatment and counseling.

"[But] if someone comes up to you and tells you they have been sexually assaulted, then their rights for a restricted report are gone," she said. "You have to report it."

More information can be found at U.S. Air Force Sexual Assault and Response Program's Web site at