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Corrective actions not found on easiest path

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- As you probably know, the Department of Defense has designated April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Let's get to the bottom line right up front -- this is serious stuff and it will never be tolerated during our watch in the 45th Space Wing.

This year's theme is "Affects one; hurts all." That's because a sexual assault on another Airman (or civilian employee) can reverberate instantly throughout a command and bring a once stable structure to its very knees.

National statistics show that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 33 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Throughout seemingly every facet of American culture, both in the military and civilian world, sexual assaults are on the rise.

Need proof? Just last month, for example, Airmen helped install 150 new lights throughout darkened areas all throughout Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. Why did they have do that? The answer is simple; to help combat a rising number of sexual assaults on the base.

That's a most bitter pill to swallow, especially when we spend so much time and energy educating our people on this topic that is both hateful and hurtful at the same time.

Sexual assault is the ultimate "anti- force multiplier." It eats away at the very fabric of a unit's espirit-de-corps, and has a very negative impact on mission readiness.

Mr. Paul Davis, who served as the guest speaker at Tuesday morning's "All Call," concluded with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that gets right to the core of this problem.

"In the end," Dr. King said, "we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

Truer words are seldom spoken. That is why it's so important for each of us throughout the Wing to ensure we build a climate of respect in which we encourage and educate everyone to be good Wingmen and intervene in situations where someone may be in jeopardy.

Because "doing the right thing" is what good Airmen do. And we all know taking the corrective actions are not always found on the easiest path.

Thanks for all you do.