By Senior Airman Laura Goodgame
509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Many have heard parents or a loved one say "I donít want you walking home alone at night" for many reasons, one of them being sexual assault.
Because women especially have experienced sexual violence during the hours of darkness, Take Back the Night started as a way to help end violence against all people of all forms.
"In an effort to help raise awareness, the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program along with their advocates are hosting a Take Back the Night walk in a family-friendly environment," said Amy Creighton, 509th Bomb Wing Sexual Assault Prevention and Response assistant.
The walk is scheduled April 20, at 7:15 p.m. and guests will meet at the track in front of the base fitness center. From there, the group will walk together to Ike Skelton Park and can listen to music and eat food catered by the USO.
"Our goal is to teach the Whiteman community and Airmen that the traditional boundaries regarding sexual assault have changed. Sexual assault happens to all genders, to all ethnicities and now at all hours of the day," Creighton said.
The SAPR program is designed to affirm the Air Force promoting sensitive care and confidential reporting for victims of sexual assault and accountability for those who commit these crimes.
The SAPR program and staff are committed to eliminating sexual assault through awareness and prevention training, education, victim advocacy, response, reporting and accountability throughout the Air Force and Whiteman community, according to Air Force Instruction 36-6001. The instruction states the United States Air Force does not tolerate sexual assault.
Sexual assault is a criminal conduct that falls well short of standards America expects of its men and women in uniform. It violates Air Force core values. Inherent in the Air Force core values of Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do, is respect.
"The SARC office is a safe and non-judgmental place you can report a sexual assault or seek victimsí assistance to pick up the pieces of your life," said Ann Beem, 509th BW SARC. "We are on call 24 hours a day seven days a week.
"Through the collaboration among Airmen and the Whiteman community, we hope that victimís of this under reported crime are able to find solace in knowing they have a place where they can reach out and get the help," Beem said. "Victims need to piece their life back together while having the ability to remain anonymous due to the nature of the crime."
The Take Back the Night walk began as a way to protest violence that women traditionally experienced while walking in public at night, according to Beem.
"The movement has since grown to encompass all forms of violence against all persons, though violence against women is still the movementís main focus," Beem said.
For more information or help, call the 24-hour hotline at 660-687-7272, or victims can go to the nearest medical facility or chaplain.