JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — This April, Chin’an JBER highlighted members of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program, Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program, Area Defense Counsel, Special Victims’ Counsel and victim advocates at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
In addition to providing aid to victims of sexual assault, sexual harassment and associated retaliatory behaviors, these members and volunteers work to raise awareness and educate others on preventing incidents from occurring.
“As the brigade victim advocate, I help victims and I also innovate ways to educate young service members about sexual harassment and assault prevention,” said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Dominique Gorman, the SHARP victim advocate assigned to the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division. “For example, this past month my coworkers and I put together a state-wide virtual event to discuss what we can do to change the direction on sexual assault and harassment in Alaska.”
The event was attended by Army SHARP and Air Force SAPR team members, service members, college students, college counselors and staff, medical professionals, victim advocates, survivors, film makers and others from across the state.
“We all came together to discuss what we can do to teach prevention and how we can improve our programs,” Gorman said.
Although both the SHARP and SAPR programs have full-time staff and often partner with community programs for events, they also employ volunteer victim advocates from within the ranks. These active-duty service members help man the 24/7 crisis line, serve as points of contact in their units for reporting, and connect victims with the best possible resources.
“Everyone deals with trauma differently, so our job is to make sure they get all the necessary care and resources they need to give them power back in their own life,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Peter Clark, a munitions systems specialist with the 3rd Munitions Squadron and volunteer victim advocate with SAPR.
As a joint installation, Air Force SAPR and Army SHARP offices on JBER are able to work together in raising awareness about sexual assault and teaching prevention.
“During this month of April, Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, the SAPR and SHARP offices partnered for several events to raise awareness concerning sexual assault,” said Charlea Hawkins, the U.S. Army Alaska SHARP program manager. “We routinely join efforts to create the appropriate culture to eliminate sexual assault, and emphasize each person’s commitment to make our community better.”
Chin’an JBER also spotlighted the SVC’s judge advocate general and the paralegal support who are responsible for all Airmen stationed in Alaska. They provide independent legal representation and advocacy on behalf of sexual assault and domestic violence victims during criminal investigations and throughout the military justice process.
“I represent Airmen who may be at the lowest point of their life and are just looking for someone to assist them to get through that dark period of their life,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Matthew Cole, a judge advocate general with the SVC. “It’s a great privilege to be able to represent them and provide them with much-needed information, guidance and support so they can make informed decisions and move forward feeling empowered with their lives and hopefully move past these difficult situations to a brighter future.”
“The Soldiers, Airmen and civilians who serve in these critical roles are a tremendous asset to people going through challenging times,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Kirsten Aguilar, JBER and 673d Air Base Wing commander. “We salute them for shouldering that role and celebrate them for all they do for our community.”
Aguilar proclaimed 2021 a year for Chin’an JBER, using the Dena’ina language word for “thank you” to express gratitude to Alaska Natives for hosting the military installation on their traditional lands and to thank the personnel who work tirelessly to serve the JBER community. To express your appreciation to these personnel, please submit a comment via the ICE link: https://ice.disa.mil/index.cfm?fa=card&sp=144947
For information on volunteering as an Air Force SAPR victim advocate, call 907-551-2033.
For information on volunteering as an Army SHARP victim advocate, call 907-792-9041.
For the confidential 24/7 JBER sexual assault report line, call 907-384-7272.