Standing united: SAPR program provides avenues for recovery
By Airman 1st Class Michaela R. Slanchik, 509th/131st Public Affairs Office
/ Published April 25, 2016
WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo -- During a traumatic experience, it might be hard to know to whom to turn. Dealing with a sexual assault can be a very isolating experience, especially for service members who may be away from their support system at home.
However, Airmen can rely on their Air Force and Department of Defense (DOD) family to provide support at any time. The Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program offers a variety of programs and confidential reporting options.
Every year, Airmen receive vital training where they are educated on the resources available to them and others. In an instance where help is sought, victims can visit their local SAPR office or call the hotline. Another option is to seek a trained victim advocate. Victim advocates are integrated within units and can be identified by their teal morale shirts on Fridays.
In addition to these outlets and reporting options the Air Force offers the DOD Safe Helpline is able to provide anonymous care for sexual assault survivors in the DOD community. It is a live, one-on-one, confidential support service available 24/7.
The DOD Safe Helpline, which was founded in 2011, is operated by the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), which is the nation's largest anti-sexual-violence organization.
The helpline offers five different avenues for help:
· An instant-messaging option is offered at SafeHelpline.org.
· The telephone option, which can transfer the call to the installation Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) if preferred, can be reached by calling (877) 995-5247.
· Safe HelpRoom is a group chat room where sexual assault survivors can connect with each other via the secure online environment at SafeHelpline.org.
· Information and personalized referrals to local support and resources can be acquired by sending a text message to 55-247 when inside the U.S.
· The Safe Helpline app is available for smart phone users and allows sexual assault survivors in the military to create a personalized self-care plan and obtain any needed resources world-wide.
In addition to providing channels for victims to receive support, the helpline website offers information on how to help someone who has been sexually assaulted.
"Reporting is not 'one size fits all,'" said Ann Beem, a 509th Bomb Wing SARC. "People need to have options that fit whatever they're comfortable with and that are available when, where and in the form that is needed. The helpline gives them these choices."
For more information, visit SafeHelpline.org or contact the Whiteman SAPR office at (660) 687-2324.