CHARLESTON, W.Va. —
April marks the beginning of Sexual Assault Awareness Month for the Department of Defense. While the military as a whole has made strides over the years to combat sexual harassment and sexual assault in its ranks, there is still work to be done and each of us have an important role in that endeavor.
All levels of leadership play an integral part in preventing sexual assault and sexual harassment by modeling and encouraging positive behaviors. It’s the responsibility of every Soldier and Airman to set the conditions that enforce Army and Air Force values to prevent sexual offenses from taking place. This demands an organizational culture that maintains the highest standards and values!
Maintaining a culture of dignity and respect goes hand in hand with the expectation that the Soldiers and Airmen in the West Virginia National Guard will hold themselves and others to a higher standard of conduct. Any degradation of these norms and values is detrimental to our ability to be a lethal fighting force capable of carrying out our missions on behalf of this great State and Nation.
The crime of sexual assault has no place in the West Virginia National Guard and we will take every measure we possibly can to prevent incidents from happening and to protect victims. We also must be aware that statistically, sexual assault is a significantly underreported crime. It takes tremendous courage to report harassment or an assault, and the expectation of this leadership team is that our organization will take care of any victim and hold offenders accountable.
Each Soldier and Airmen should make a personal commitment to end sexual harassment and sexual assault within our ranks and should embrace the message, “I will not tolerate it. I will not condone it. I will not ignore it.”
For more information on WVNG resources for the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program, please visit www.wv.ng.mil/SAPR