TUCSON, Ariz. --
Nationally, April is observed as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) as a way to raise awareness and promote prevention of sexual violence through special events and public education.
SAAM creates an opportunity to highlight the Department of Defense (DoD) and Service policies addressing sexual assault prevention and response.
The DoD theme for SAAM 2009 is "Our Strength is for Defending." It's intended to highlight the fact that our mission not only involves national defense, but the defense and safety of the Americans who voluntarily risk their lives in our defense.
Every servicemember, starting with senior leadership, must understand the importance of safely intervening and preventing the crime of sexual assault. Service members have to safely intervene when they identify behaviors that may lead to sexual assault.
Sexual assault degrades mission readiness and is fundamentally at odds with the responsibility of the men and women in uniform to treat all people with dignity and respect.
There will be a series of posters for each military service that illustrate real-life situations that encourage everyone to make helpful decisions.
Also in April, the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault is sponsoring its annual Dine Out for Safety event April 29. Dine Out for Safety is the center's signature community outreach and fundraising event. It unites local restaurants, businesses, organizations and individuals in a unique and fun community-wide experience.
Participating restaurants will generously donate up to 20 percent of their day's proceeds to support the center's mission. These restaurants will be staffed by community hosts, including community leaders and local celebrities, Pan-Hellenic organizations, college athletes, center staff, board members and volunteers.
In 1997, the center partnered with a single restaurant in its first Dine Out for Safety. This event raised $12,000. In 2008, Dine Out for Safety included 32 locally-owned restaurants and cleared more than $75,000 - all of which went directly toward providing services to survivors of sexual assault and their families.
Some participating restaurants this year include: Blanco, Barrio, Bluefin, Chad's Steakhouse, Feast, Frog & Firkin, Kingfisher, Magpies (six locations), Roma Café, Wildflower and Zona 78. For a complete listing or more information contact 327-1171 or visit dineoutforsafety.com.
In upcoming months the 162nd Fighter Wing will begin offering the next phase of annual training. Information will be sent out to base members.
Members are encouraged to learn more about the issue of sexual assault and what you can do to prevent it. Visit www.sapr.mil
162nd FW SARCs