Sheppard Hopes New Sexual Assault Initiative Will Give Victims Hope

- A new initiative was started at Sheppard Air Force Base this weekend with the goal to help those affected by sexual assault.

They are trying to get the word out about their sexual assault prevention and response resources by starting with a place they think airmen will see the message most often: in taxi cabs.

Although members of the sexual assault prevention team cannot release statistics on how many sexual assaults they deal with, they are pushing an aggressive victim based campaign that has been promoting help lines for more than 5 years. And it's now expanding outside the base.

It's a message plastered on magnets, posters, water bottles and even lip balm. If you have been a victim of sexual assault, you are not alone, and there are places to get help.

“We're just there to refer the victims to the services available to them to help heal in the process,” says Deputy Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, Capt. Angela Naval.

“We're there for them, so all our attention is focused on helping them and making them feel comfortable, letting them know it is not their fault,” says Naval.

And that message is now on the move, with a sticker placed on the inside window of all Skylark cabs in Wichita Falls.

“This is just another way that if they're in a taxi cab trying to get home and they see this number then it's somewhere that they can go to find that help that they need and kind of reassuring them that there is someone out there who cares,” says Naval.

And Skylark is happy to support the cause.

“These are young people who are just, first time away from home, a lot of them all, so we thought anything we could do to let them know that there is an outlet is a good thing,” says Skylark President Kevin Callahan.

SARC officials hope the new stickers, along with with the other parts of the education program already in place, will help keep airmen safe and give them a sense of support.

“We explain the definition of what sexual assault is, give them tools of how to reduce the risk of being sexually assaulted, again reassuring them that it is not their fault,” says Naval.

And giving airmen the chance to take the pledge, to help protect each other by being a wingman.

“Our airmen are also charged to look out for each other as well and kind of creating that air force community family,” says Naval.

A community they hope to make safer for everyone.

Captain Naval says the stickers are not just for Air Force members, anyone can call their office and they will refer them to someone who can help.

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