HomeNewsArticle Display

Group investigates Air Force sexual assault policies

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Several members of a working group created by the secretary of the Air Force to review the service's sexual assault policies began gathering information here Feb. 19.

Dr. James G. Roche recently directed the Air Force's general counsel to lead the group looking at how the service deals with sexual assault at the officer training programs, with particular emphasis on the Air Force Academy. The group will report their findings and recommendations to the secretary and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper.

"The intent of the working group is to provide the secretary of the Air Force the information he needs to put in place whatever new policies and programs are necessary that will support both human dignity and basic justice," said Air Force spokesperson Valerie L. Burkes at the Pentagon.

While the academy has had a program in place to address such issues since 1993, recent cadet complaints suggested a review is now appropriate, Burkes said.

According to the school's commandant of cadets, when dealing with sexual assault, the academy's programs begin with prevention.

"Prevention is truly the heart of our program," Brig. Gen. S. Taco Gilbert III said. "Although victim support is an essential part and has received a lot of attention as of late, we focus a lot of our attention on prevention, and that starts on day one at the academy."

Students are given a booklet on their first day titled "Wing Tips," essentially their first schoolbook while at the institution. Last summer, information was added to the book so that the first page discusses sexual harassment and discrimination, Gilbert said. On the second page is a cadets' "bill of rights" which delves further into inappropriate requests and unwanted sexual advances.

First-year human relations and sexual assault education programs at the academy range from general information about sexual assault and awareness, to a class titled "Street Smarts," where cadets learn how not to be a victim.

If those precautions fail to prevent a sexual assault from taking place, the academy presents a wide variety of avenues for reporting the alleged crime, the general said.

"There are a variety of means where a cadet can report harassment, sexual assault or rape," Gilbert said. "It depends on the individual cadet and their preferences as to which avenue they want to take.

"If they desire to go talk to a chaplain, we have chaplains available. If they desire to talk to a medical professional, they can go to the medical group and we have medical professionals available. If they desire to talk to a professional counselor, we have those available," he said.

Beyond the emotional and physical support programs, Gilbert said the academy is committed to providing justice for cadets who fall victim to sexual crimes.

"A victim can go through their chain of command, or to the security forces, or the Air Force Office of Special Investigations to report those problems," Gilbert said. "In those cases where women want to prosecute, I will always investigate. When there is evidence, I will always take the harshest possible action I can as a commander because this is an important issue to me."

Burkes echoed the general's words, saying the Air Force has zero tolerance for sexual assault.

"We encourage victims to report incidents so they can get the support and care they need and, consistent with justice, offenders can be dealt with appropriately," she said.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
RT @AF_SBIR_STTR: Over the span of two days, more than 150 Airmen representing 50 bases and 200 entrepreneurs representing 100 #SBIR Phase…
RT @JointBasePHH: The Sentry Aloha 19-2 exercise is taking place here at JBPHH. If you've noticed some unfamiliar aircraft in the sky, it's…
RT @AETCommand: 🙌👏 Congrats to Tech. Sgt. Stephen Conklin, @APDInfo police officer & former military working dog handler, who rocked the te…
.@detroitpolice Hello #Detroit!!! #americasairforce is in town. Check out photos from the 11th Precinct Youth Olym… https://t.co/ijzV6uVSQs
RT @airandspace: Today in 1961, Jacqueline Cochran set a new speed record for women, flying the Museum's Northrop T-38 Talon. Learn more ab…
RT @USNationalGuard: Military medical specialists from the @AirNatlGuard @usairforce @USAFReserve @USArmy @USArmyReserve and @USNavy Reserv…
RT @AETCommand: Thanks for your years of service, Wax! 🐕 In his 9 years on "active duty," Wax was a critical part of 11 U.S. Secret Servic…
RT @HQ_AFMC: The @AFMarathon will be the 229th for cancer #survivor Julia Khvasechko, who will pace the 4:25 #running group at this year's…
RT @AETCommand: 2nd Lt. Brian Lee, 333rd TRS student, completes a pull-up during the 81st SFS Defender's Challenge Ruck at @81trwKeeslerAFB
RT @AFThunderbirds: It’s day 1 of the @ROCAirShow! Catch us in the sky @ 3 pm. @AirshowStuff @icas_hq @NewsAirshow @AirShowNetwork https://…
RT @AF_Football: 1 week till go time ⚡️ https://t.co/PNoLjfIUGG
RT @DOD_Outreach: Bring the heat! The @AFThunderbirds demonstrate precision flying during the @SDairshow for thousands of members of the c…
.@AF_Academy Off we go into the wild #Blue yonder... https://t.co/JkPC0jYyAZ
RT @AETCommand: 😉 It's not really bragging if you bring home the 🏆 - is it? 📖 more at the link about how @Columbus_AFB's First Assignment…
RT @USAFHealth: Air Force Research Laboratory tests the new wireless high-noise filtering stethoscope. Learn more: https://t.co/bNj9LhB7d6…
RT @37thTRW: A #CV22 from @KIRTLAND377ABW arrived today to give hands on training to our #Airmen in this tiltrotor #aircraft ✈️ 🚁 🇺🇸 Our…
RT @HiAirGuard: We’ve had a lot of excitement on our flight line for exercise Sentry Aloha 19-2! The exercise kicked off with fighter aircr…
RT @419fw: The 419th OSF is home to about 40 Airmen who work behind the scenes of every #F35 flying mission @HAFB. Comprised of aircrew fli…
RT @AF_SBIR_STTR: In 2018, @AFWERX in collaboration with other Air Force organizations like the @AFResearchLab revamped the congressionally…
.@ActingSecAF happy birthday! Thanks for embodying the Air Force core values. INTEGRITY FIRST. SERVICE BEFORE SE… https://t.co/VFeGcblVVK