Everyone seems to have a story with regard to it: Someone knew of someone who did it, who it happened to, who got away with it or who covered it up.
Shocking? Not to me.
As the 111th Attack Wing sexual assault response coordinator here, I am not surprised. These issues about power and control over another have been happening in our world for a very long time. We just did not want to face it.
So, I see the media attention as a step in the right direction – we are finally talking about it! In light of these recently publicized events, we are talking to our co-workers at the coffee pot, to our families at the dinner table and thinking about it in a way we probably never have before.
But where do we go from here? In our Air National Guard unit, we go forward. We trust one another, we work hard and we care about each and every individual. We make better choices and we intervene when we see those who don’t. We stand up for what is right and show compassion for those who have been wronged. We don’t turn a blind eye, but continue to talk about the tough issues. Only together will we advance.
Sexual harassment and sexual assault are finally being looked at as the crime that they are. It is being taken seriously. Regardless of how long it took us to get here, the point that we are here now is important and meaningful. It is a turning point for those who have suffered in silence. It is a turning point for those who have offended. It is a turning point for our society.
On all fronts, what it will take to create a culture of change is a daily struggle. As members of the Profession of Arms, we embrace innovation in not only technology, but also thought and action. Who better to lead the way for this positive transformation in culture than the men and women of the Air National Guard?