Hurts one, affects all

  • Published
  • By Jose Jasso
  • 301 FW SARC
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) throughout the nation. This provides an opportunity for the Department of Defense (DoD) and all the Military Services to highlight their commitment to addressing sexual assault prevention and response at all organizational levels. This year's theme, "Hurts one, Affects all," focuses on the effects that sexual assault has on individuals and also on mission readiness. Those effects include a unit's ability to work together and deploy quickly and efficiently.
The negative consequences of sexual assault are often described as having a ripple effect. That ripple starts with the victim and expands outward to include families, friends, work colleagues, neighbors, and increasingly larger parts of the population. The same is true within our military community. The crime of sexual assault significantly diminishes the military services' ability to function proficiently at all levels. If one servicemember hurts, it really does affect everyone from the victim, through the unit level, and up to command. Its impact is both immediate and long-lasting; and in particular, it diminishes a unit's mission readiness.

How does it impact mission readiness?
· The alleged perpetrators are often placed on administrative hold and therefore cannot deploy with their units
· Victims may not be able to fulfill their duties or may otherwise have their ability to perform the mission compromised as a result of the traumatic events
· The attention of the unit leadership shifts from the normal duties involved in maintaining readiness to addressing a victim's needs, investigating the alleged perpetration, and restoring the unit's cohesion and trust
· If the victim is a family member, the servicemember's attention must now shift completely from normal family responsibilities to taking care of not only the victimized family member's needs (medical, psychological, legal, etc.) but also the family as a unit
· It can create divisiveness not only within a unit but also between units if an alleged perpetrator is in one unit and the victim is in another

All of us have a role in stopping sexual assault. In fact, it is our duty. The theme of "Hurts one, Affects all," not only conveys that sexual assault directly affects the victim, but that it also affects the bystanders. This is why the DoD has now put special emphasis on teaching servicemembers about Active Bystander Intervention--the idea that every servicemember needs to be ready to step in and intervene in situations that may lead to sexual assault.

Unfortunately, the reality of sexual assault is alive and well inside and outside NAS JRB Fort Worth. Therefore, it is important for everyone to be reminded about the reporting options available under DoD policy: Restricted and Unrestricted.

· Restricted Reporting: This allows victims to receive advocacy support, medical treatment, counseling, and a sexual assault forensic examination without triggering a criminal investigation or being personally identified in subsequent command notification. With Restricted Reporting, victims can access resources and care while weighing their option to participate in a criminal investigation at a later time.

· Unrestricted Reporting: If a victim chooses Unrestricted Reporting, he/she can also access resources available under the Restricted option; however, a report is filed through normal reporting channels including the victim's chain of command, law enforcement, and legal personnel to maximize accountability of sexual assault perpetrators.

In addition to the reporting options, the 301st Fighter Wing recently highlighted and strengthened its commitment to the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program by bringing me aboard as the Wing's Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) and Behavioral Health Support Coordinator. I have a Master's Degree in Social Work, as well as being a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I am also a Traditional Reservist assigned to the 932nd Medical Squadron at Scott AFB, IL.

The SARC is a key channel of support for the victim and ensures optimal care for the victim as well as all the necessary training for all military and civilian members. The SARC office is located in the 301st Medical Squadron building on 1780 Doolittle Ave, Room 106. I can be reached at DSN 739-3827, 817-782-3827 or by email at The 24/7 SARC Hotline is 817-401-5046.
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