HomeNewsArticle Display

Sexual Assault Prevention Summit challenges Airmen to lead to prevent sexual assault

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Visiting speakers discussed leaders’ roles in preventing sexual assault at the Sexual Assault Prevention Summit Jan. 13 and 14 at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.

Lt. Col. Kevin Basik and Dr. Heather McCauley spoke to 150 Airmen of varying ranks about how leaders can promote a professional culture which deters sexual violence and assault. Basik and McCauley represent a number of scheduled speakers who presented to participants during the course of the five-day summit designed to stimulate discussion about sexual assault in the Air Force.

“We’re talking about shifting and shaping culture,” said Basik, the senior Air Force advisor for professionalism. “We’ve got to get clear about what a professional is, and then develop a culture around it -- a culture of dignity and respect. This is the journey all of us are on. We want to move the culture; we want to move individuals to focus on the right thing.”

According to McCauley, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine, leaders create cultural norms by determining outcome expectation, what ramification will ensue if an individual demonstrates negative behavior. They also set the cultural standard by role modeling positive behavior. If the leader doesn’t feel comfortable doing it, it’s likely that others won’t either.

“Influential leaders are critical to shifting social norms,” McCauley said. “We want to shift social norms including the idea that violence is acceptable and that we can’t do anything about it, because we can.”

Leaders must develop the confidence, competence, and judgment to be able to make the right call when it comes to sexual assault, Basik said. The absence of any one of those factors could hijack prevention efforts. A leader can have his heart in the right place, know what he is doing and still make the wrong call.

In many instances people know what the right decision is, but pressures show up at the gap between deciding and acting, which keep people from doing what they know is right, he said. Some of those pressures include concerns about time and expertise.

Leaders may feel like the necessary conversations remain outside the scope of their job. They may worry about being intrusive, or that they don’t know what to say, McCauley said.

“There are a number of barriers that cross sectors,” she said. “These are all very real, and it’s important that they are said so we can create strategies to address them.”

Consistently crossing the gap between deciding and acting requires leaders to clarify what they are committed to, and step into the person they aspire to be, Basik said. Leadership extends way beyond compliance with Air Force standards to demonstrating a true commitment to leading and developing others.

“We’re back to identities,” he said. “It’s got to start with ownership. You don’t develop other people; you support them in developing themselves.”

Airmen took their notes and insights back to their respective working groups designed to create tools to help the Air Force prevent sexual assault. They were charged to lean into the conversation because everybody has a role in the developmental process.

According to Basik, it starts with thoughts and habits of action.

“You have the ability to shift and change the course of many young men and young women’s lives,” McCauley said.

(Editor's Note: This is the second story in a series of three in recognition of the 2015 Sexual Assault Prevention Summit.)

Engage

Facebook Twitter
Jetting into the weekend like... #F16 https://t.co/wEWD7vr476
.@AstroHague showing his #USAF pride during the anniversary week of the #Apollo50 landing. @ISS_Researchhttps://t.co/WdgCFDmz6f
'Only two of us were not shot or dying': #USAF #Airman receives Silver Star for heroism in Afghanistan heroism… https://t.co/IdmKq8gtDx
RT @AFResearchLab: Dr. Lisa Rueschhoff was one of 82 engineers chosen to attend @theNAEng 2019 U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium! Sh…
RT @ActingSecAF: .@GenDaveGoldfein is bolstering partners & #allies across Europe, discussing how we can be #StrongerTogether in air, #spac
Annual recovery efforts have helped to identify 40 of the 52 service members lost when a C-124 crashed into Mount G… https://t.co/fdHUY2IATf
8 of the surviving #Apollo #Astronauts got together for the 50th anniversary of the #moonlanding. @NASAhttps://t.co/szPJHXupa1
RT @HQUSAFEPA: Gen. Goldfein, during his keynote address at the 2019 Chief of the Air Staff's Air and Space Power Conference said the follo…
.@WrightPattAFB opened a #cyberdefense facility for #USAF Life Cycle Management Center's Fighters & Bombers Directo… https://t.co/QibdORLX2q
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Our asymmetric advantage is represented in this room. It is all of us working together on a common cause. Great to see…
.@AFResearchLab supports @AFThunderbirds w/cutting-edge aerospace #technology. From G-suits, custom earpieces, fly-… https://t.co/HJ07fLg2aP
Operating from rough dirt strips, the #C130 Hercules is capable of transporting & airdropping troops & equipment in… https://t.co/c4vsC76vRX
Tune into @TheWilsonCenter July 18, 2019 at 8:05 a.m. (EDT) to hear #USAirForce Lt. Gen. Bussiere, @USNorthernCmd A… https://t.co/M2LTH8wpx5
.@DMAFB #Airmen traveled more than 1700 miles to save two critically injured Mexican fishermen onboard the Mazatun… https://t.co/tcTnNPC8Zj
RT @KadenaAirBase: #ICYMI: #TeamKadena will be activating a new special operations squadron for the operation and maintenance of the #CV22
#OTDIH, The B-2 Spirit's inaugural test flight happened from Palmdale to @EdwardsAFB, #California. The B-2 Spirit i… https://t.co/bS7ODGlxsP
.@HAFB #Airmen conduct #F35 missions while temporary assigned to @366FW. This is the largest off-station F-35A Li… https://t.co/KlbXq7jBLg
RT @MacDill_AFB: CSM John W. Troxell has our #TotalForce team here at MacDill feeling empowered! 😎💪 Thanks for visiting our service members…
.@NellisAFB plans to roll out shorts for maintenance technicians to wear on the flight line in the scorching Nevada… https://t.co/fcavaNG112
⚡️ “RAF Lakenheath breaks ground on future F-35 infrastructure” by @usairforce https://t.co/wiOjMMONZD