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
Our thoughts and prayers goes out to the friends and family members during this difficult time. https://t.co/848Rx4CdVU
RT @HQAirUniversity: Lt. Gen. James Hecker assumed command of Air University today.  Welcome to AU, Sir! https://t.co/SZVOVZDo78 https://t.…
RT @DeptofDefense: Music is a universal language. It’s a unifying language. Over the summer, the @usairforce music ensemble, Final Approach…
RT @JointBasePHH: #DYK that here at JBPHH, Hawai'i Air National Guard and active duty @usairforce members work side-by-side to generate air…
RT @RamsteinAirBase: @SecAFOfficial and @GenDaveGoldfein have arrived at the #WorldsBestWing! If given the chance, what would you ask the…
RT @AFSpace: We have to combat today's conflict with tomorrow's technology. Check out what Dr. @neiltyson had to say about innovation when…
RT @HQUSAFEPA: Airmen with #AFAFRICA and the @AirNatlGuard, along with 25 African partner nations, are currently in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire,…
Want to know more about @SecAFOfficial Barbara Barrett? Read on to hear her story. https://t.co/3HPtw0tO4t https://t.co/6FtIZZ7RJh
RT @WhiteHouse: The artists and pioneers receiving the National Medal of the Arts today have entertained millions, enriched American art an…
RT @71FTW: An aircraft mishap has occured on Vance AFB. Follow #VanceUpdates for more information.
RT @CJTFOIR: #CJTFOIR Airmen received coins from @GenDaveGoldfein during a trip with @SecAFOfficial to forward operating base Union III, Ir…
RT @KadenaAirBase: "In order to #operate, all you need is a runway, a ramp, fuel bladder, a trailer full of munitions, a pallet of MREs, an…
RT @AFCareers: Air Force releases details of FY20 Selective Retention Bonus program, effective tomorrow. #airforce https://t.co/yhLx2wl7lb…
RT @HQUSAFEPA: “Moving forward, we must be the blunt force ready to counterpunch when deterrence fails...the tyranny of proximity makes wor…
RT @USAFHealth: Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation, Critical Care Air Transport, and Aeromedical Evacuation teams came together on a histo…
#Airmen thinking of trying CBD oil should think again. Read on to see why... https://t.co/R2KXHaEi0A https://t.co/5190wr0AIm
RT @SecAFOfficial: Check out @USAFCENT #Airmen making a difference @455thAEW & #KandaharAirfield, Afghanistan 🇦🇫 They’re focused on mission…