Wednesday, January 16, 2013

SARC theater group opens dialogue

by Staff Sgt. Tong Duong
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

1/15/2013 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Sexual assault is a deplorable act, usually committed against females but also targeting males. This traumatic event can affect one physically and emotional as well as the mission.

The 8th Fighter Wing sexual assault response coordinator and SARC assistant recently revived the Kunsan sexual assault theater group to help spread the message. More than 35 soon-to-be NCOs attending Airman Leadership School were in attendance.

"We brought back the working group as a way to open a dialogue and bring the issues to the forefront," said Capt. Brandon Alford, SARC assistant. "The organization was put together several years ago and we are really getting invigorated to do something about the sexual assault themes in the Air Force. We know this is a hot topic with the chief of staff right now."

The performance skit and scenario were aimed at future supervisors and provided different methods to help their Airmen recognize when someone was ready to talk about a sexual assault.

"Sexual assault is not easy to talk about," Alford said. "It is an uncomfortable topic, but we need to discuss it openly if we want to change people's views and ultimately make a stronger culture in the Air Force."

The skits performed by theater group members touched on bystander intervention, male-on-male sexual assault and "in character" questions from the audience to the actors.

"There are a lot of things we can do to change views and prevent sexual assault from happening in the first place," Alford said. "As a supervisor, wingman or good human being in general, you should be willing to hear the victim's side. From there, you can figure out how to continue shaping them, and making them effective in the Air Force and continuing on with the rest of their life. It is the SARC's job to help someone heal and to become warfighter capable again."

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