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Beyond SAAPM: Resources for Survivors and Advocates

Participants in the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Month 5K pose for photograph before running at Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H. April 6, 2019. The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Team sponsors the annual event held in April. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Victoria Nelson)

Participants in the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Month 5K pose for photograph before running at Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H. April 6, 2019. The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Team sponsors the annual event held in April. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Victoria Nelson)


In April, recognized globally as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, airmen and civilians at Pease Air National Guard Base participated in initiatives to shed light on the issue of sexual assault. Events hosted on base included a 5k race, and the start of a new survivor initiative called Project Unbreakable.

Susan Baldwin, the sexual assault response coordinator for the 157th Air Refueling Wing, explained that the goal of these initiatives was to raise awareness for sexual assault prevention, and provide supportive resources.  
"Sexual assault is a societal problem and we need to be able to provide help for our people rather than to just send them off broken," Baldwin said. "This organization gives me the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of other people."

Although a relatively new face at Pease after stepping into her role last fall, Baldwin has been a survivor advocate since 2011. She served as the SARC at the Massachusetts National Guard's Joint Force Headquarters, and for the Massachusetts based U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center after retiring from the Air National Guard. 

Baldwin believes that the Sexual Assault and Prevention Response Program has evolved into an invaluable tool to get victims the help they need, and prevent assaults in the future. She also expressed her hope for both supporters and victims to have the courage to take a stand. 

"My core message for this month is really for everyone to embrace their voice," she said. "Everyone has a voice and everyone can make a difference, especially when they show their support for survivors."

One of the ways airmen are encouraged to make their voices heard is through Project Unbreakable, which provides survivors the platform to vocalize how their lives have been affected by sexual assault. While the project began in April, it will continue through September. 
"Project Unbreakable allows survivors to state loud and clear that they stand with other survivors for however long it takes," Baldwin said. "The collection of these statements will demonstrate just how deeply our community is affected by sexual violence and abuse, and reaffirm our commitment to stand up against it."

As SAAPM draws to a close, the campaign to help survivors and prevent sexual assaults at Pease remains.
"It is every airman's duty to ensure a safe working environment," said Chief Master Sgt. Mathew Heiman, command chief of 157th ARW. "Creating the appropriate culture to eliminate sexual assault requires a personal commitment by every airman at every level each and every day."

For additional resources and information, please contact Susan Baldwin at (603) 430-3524 or susan.o.baldwin.civ@mail.mil

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