FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, MD --
Sticky notes are often used to help remember appointments, phone numbers or tasks. But, what if a sticky note was used for something bigger than a laundry list of things to do? What if it could be used to reach out to sexual assault survivors and let them know someone is there for them?
The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office here began the 2017 Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month with a new project named Stick with Survivors, a project to assist military and civilian members in showing their support for sexual assault survivors.
“Members contribute to the project by writing on a sticky note why they support survivors and how they show that support,” said Meghan Root, 70th ISRW Sexual Assault response coordinator. “This project is ongoing, and we will continue to grow the number of sticky notes year after year and can incorporate different questions and themes.”
Stations will be set up throughout the month allowing members to stop and add their messages to survivors. Or, members can stop by the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office to create a stick with survivors post-it. The collections will then be prepared and added to mobile message boards.
“With the sticky notes we collect, we will create mobile art displays using the notes to spell out words like ‘survivor’ or ‘empowerment’ in our work centers to reinforce that the 70 ISRW cares about our Wingmen who have experienced power-based violence,” Meghan explained.
When adding to the board, Airmen are given a chance to see the anonymous messages to the survivors. While writing their messages, SAPR victim advocates talk to the members about the importance of their actions toward preventing sexual assault and supporting victims.
“This project seemed to be powerful and a discussion starter,” said Staff Sgt. Melissa, 7th Intelligence Squadron volunteer victim advocate. “It was a great way to engage with the Fort Meade community and raise awareness, and educate the campus about the SAPR Program, through soliciting engagement from Airmen and service members around the community. It was very empowering to see the visual display become a profound statement of support for survivors of sexual assault.”
Meghan mentioned the project also allows for a safe anonymous space for survivors to speak out.
“The beauty of this project is that it engages people to reflect on the subject and express their feelings without the added pressure of a briefing or group discussion,” said Capt. Robert, 7th IS volunteer victim advocate. “The question is simple. How or why do you stick with survivors? While the overwhelming response initially seemed to be, ‘Because it's the right thing to do,’ I was surprised by how many people paused to look at the other notes, then chose to reflect deeper than a canned response.”
Stick with Survivors will continue throughout the year at Fort Meade and could spread to other installations.
As the boards are filled and collected, they will be on continuous displayed during Comprehensive Airman Fitness events, Green Dot trainings and other wing event to help show support for victims of sexual assault.
(Editor’s note: Last names were not used for security reasons.)