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Air Guard Unit Uses Teal Ribbons in Sexual Assault Prevention Campaign

By Air Force Capt. Jennifer K. Proctor, 138th Fighter Wing

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Teal ribbons adorned the lawn surrounding the Brig. Gen. Joseph W. Turner Complex parking area here April 7, each signifying one of the 435 sexual assaults reported within Air National Guard units throughout the United States in 2016.

Airmen build a display of teal ribbons.
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Rebecca Willemstein, 138th Security Forces Squadron, and Breanna Ault, Student Flight, place teal-colored ribbons near high-traffic areas to bring awareness of the campaign to eliminate sexual assault within the military. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Roberta A. Thompson
Airmen build a display of teal ribbons. 180407-Z-TK779-3001
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Rebecca Willemstein, 138th Security Forces Squadron, and Breanna Ault, Student Flight, place teal-colored ribbons near high-traffic areas to bring awareness of the campaign to eliminate sexual assault within the military. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Roberta A. Thompson

“By seeing 435 ribbons, I hope to help airmen grasp the damage that sexual assault has on the Air National Guard and our mission,” said Air Force 2nd Lt Jennifer Carson, the 138th Fighter Wing’s sexual assault response coordinator.

Carson and several other volunteers apparently were successful in their sexual assault awareness and prevention campaign across the wing. Air Force Senior Airman Shannan Hanson, a client systems technician in the 138th Communications Flight, described the visualization as “overwhelming.”

“When you stop and think that each of those ribbons represent an airman, it’s horrific,” Hanson said. “Each of them are a member of our Guard family.”

Other airmen surveyed had similar feelings to Hanson’s, some noting the trust in the program the airmen had shown by being confident enough in the system to report a sexual assault without fear of retaliation.

Leaders’ Support

The wing’s leadership supports efforts to prevent and eliminate sexual assault.

 “Sexual assault has no place within the Air National Guard,” Air Force Col. Raymond H. Siegfried III, the 138th Fighter Wing commander, said. “We are a family, and we don’t treat our family with anything but respect and dignity. Sexual assault is not only a crime against the victim -- it degrades our readiness, relationships and mission accomplishment. We are better than that.”

Carson said she hoped the display would lead to all of the wing’s airmen taking a moment to consider how they can be involved in eliminating sexual assault within the military.
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