Sexual Assualt, Everyone's Business

  • Published
  • By Anonymous
  • Headquarters Air Combat Command Public Affairs
I walked in the bathroom and blood was everywhere. It looked like a murder scene. I looked up and there she was sitting on the toilet hunched over and crying. When I asked what happened she didn't respond. She couldn't talk. I was terrified and confused as to what happened. Why was she bleeding so much, and why isn't she telling me what happened? I screamed out for help. Someone came running in and I yelled call 911. While we waited for an ambulance, we put her in the tub to clean her up. The bath water turned red as if we had put red food coloring in the water. All I could do was cry and scream. Unaware of what happened my mind was going crazy. Finally the ambulance arrived and took her to the nearest emergency room.

Waiting in the emergency room seemed like an eternity, my mind continued to race. I didn't know if I would ever be able to hold, hug or kiss the one person I loved so much again. The world stopped and I became numb. I sat waiting for doctors praying that this nightmare would be over soon. The doctors finally came out of the back and my heart began to race. Were the doctors about to tell me she was no longer with us? As they walked toward us it seemed as though they were walking in slow motion. They couldn't get to us fast enough. I just needed to know was she going to be okay.

After examining her, doctors said, they had determined she had been violently sexually assaulted. She was losing too much blood so they needed to complete an emergency surgery to save her life.

Those words pierced straight through me. Who did this? I want to find them and make them suffer. These are the thoughts I had as I tried to comprehend the information that was just told to me.

This horrific act of violence may seem like something that would never happen in your community; to anyone you love or to anyone in your unit, but the reality is that this can happen to anyone.

According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, an estimated 1 in 4 women and 1 and 6 men will experience sexual assault in their lifetime. Of those assaulted an estimated 75 percent are victimized by people they know personally. Husbands, boyfriends, acquaintance and other relatives usually are the predators.

As Airmen, although we are not all directly involved in a sexual assault, we are all affected by it when it happens to anyone in our Air Force. I can guarantee we all know someone who has been sexually assaulted or someone we know knows someone who has been sexually assaulted.

It is time to take stand and take action to prevent this horrific act from happening and change our Air Force culture.

The Air Force has been in a negative spotlight fir the past few years for sexual assault and harassment, and it is time we gain the trust of our Airmen and public back. No one is going to want to become part of an organization that is facing such a tragic obstacle.

So you ask what the solutions to our problems are.

Educating yourself on the topic, educating others on the topic and stepping in when you see someone being assaulted or harassed are the ways we can become part of the solution. Become familiar with the traits of a predator so we can stop them. Do not allow predators to dwell in our Air Force, call them out and get them out.

I understand that change will not happen immediately, but we cannot give up. We have to keep spreading the message and making everyone aware of this horrific crime. We all play a role in saving someone else from becoming a victim.

Remember we all need to be part of the solution and not contributors to the problem. Turning a death ear to sexual harassment and other acts of sexual assault makes you just as guilty as the assailant. Allowing someone to make sexual comments in the office may seem innocent and everyone may laugh but what are you really allowing happen? Sexual predators thrive in these types of environments. Accepting these types of actions provides an environment for predators to possibly assault another person. You give them an inch they will take a foot.

I want to ask you all to make a pledge to help spread the message and stop the violence. If you witness someone being sexually assaulted or harassed step in and help them. The sexual assault prevention office, chaplain and medical professionals are all there to provide help and get victims through their difficult time. Victims can use these professionals to report any assault or harassment as restricted.

I am doing my part by serving as my unit's Sexual Assault Prevention facilitator and helping all my wingmen understand how serious this crime is and how we all have to take action to stop it.

After that terrifying experience, I made a promise to educate myself and help others who have experienced sexual assault. These acts of violence not only affect the victim, but also affect the family and friends close to them.

Although it can be tough for victims going through the pain of assault, I want to let you know it does get better.

After some therapy and healing my loved one was able to get back on track. She has sent graduated college and had a child who the doctors thought she would never have due to the internal damage from the assault.