By Debbie Gregory.
Last month, the Defense Department honored six sexual assault response coordinators, or SARCs, one from each branch of service, for their heroic efforts assisting sexual assault victims and their commitment in preventing further assaults.
Led by Director of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey J. Snow, the panel considered the efforts of more than 2,000 SARCs from each branch of the military and the National Guard Bureau.
Because sexual assault is such an underreported crime, it is critical that every survivor is treated with the sensitivity they deserve, the privacy they prefer, and the responsive support they need. “Sexual Assault Response Coordinators and Victim Advocates provide a beacon of support to the victims of sexual assault and ensure they get the help they need,” Snow said.
Exceptional SARCs of the Year were chosen from the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, National Guard and Coast Guard as part of National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
The SARC is the single point of contact for victim care, from the initial reporting of sexual assault through disposition and resolution of issues related to a survivor’s health and well-being.
Every year, since 2009, the Defense Department has recognized exceptional SARCs for providing noteworthy prevention and response care and support to military victims of sexual assault.
This year’s 2015 Exceptional Sexual Assault Response Coordinators are:
Pamela Reeves, Air Force
First Lt. Nicole Myers, Army
Erinn Izykowski, Marine Corps
Sharlyne Hays, Navy
Heather Mattson, National Guard
Lauren Jennings, Coast Guard
For any victim of military sexual assault, help is available in a variety of ways. The Telephone Helpline at (877) 995-5247 allows users to speak with trained Safe Helpline staff for personalized advice and support. Help is available online via Safe Helpline’s website at https://www.safehelpline.org. Texting a location or zip code to 55-247 in the U.S. or (001) 202-470-5546 outside the U.S. allows users to receive contact information for the sexual assault response coordinator; medical, legal, chaplain, and military police personnel; civilian sexual assault service providers and Department of Veterans Affairs resources.
Also available is the award-winning Safe Helpline Mobile App, designed specifically for military sexual assault survivors. It can be downloaded for free at the Apple and Google Play App Stores. The Safe HelpRoom is a ground-breaking online group chat service, allowing military sexual assault survivors to connect with one another in a moderated and secure environment. Find Safe HelpRoom information at SafeHelpline.org.
If you are a victim of military sexual assault, the worst thing you can do is nothing.
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Military Connection: Recognition for Sexual Assault Response Coordinators: By Debbie Gregory