Learning to talk about ‘IT’: Campaign raises awareness across base

  • Published
  • By Jenny Gordon
  • Robins Public Affairs
"IT" is sexual assault.

You may have noticed the genderless, faceless symbol posted in various areas across Robins. The logo, which is formed by combining the letters "I" and "T," was created as part of an awareness campaign to initiate discussion on a serious topic that cannot be overlooked or ignored by anyone at Robins.

"We want people to see the symbol as a way to talk about 'IT,'" said Lisa Matney, Robins' Sexual Assault Response Coordinator. "With the symbol, we are hoping people are going to start opening the lines of communication which will eventually stop 'IT' from happening."

While "IT" may be an uncomfortable and difficult subject to freely talk about, awareness is key to truly understanding what sexual assault means, recognizing "IT" in situations, and taking steps to prevent it from happening.

One of the outreach programs the SARC office is conducting are "IT" Leadership Training classes.

During the last month, the training has been provided to more than 100 participants.

"The training is to get people to think outside the box; 'IT' doesn't just occur with strangers, but with a coworker, friend or a supervisor," said Pamela Davis, sexual assault victim advocate. "This puts them in the mindset of what they could do and say when supporting a victim."

The next two classes will be conducted Dec. 3 and Dec. 11 from 1 to 2:30 p.m., in Bldg. 761. Please reserve a space by emailing 78abw.cvk. It's voluntary for first line supervisors and above.

Although we see sex glamorized all around us, whether on television, online or in the movies, it is mistaken that sex is easy to talk about, not to mention sexual assault, said Matney.

Looking ahead, the SARC office will be developing more training programs and literature to assist the workforce with communication and education.

The Air Force has taken action in the last year to change the culture, including implementing a Special Victim's Council for victims to receive legal representation and advocacy, to expediting transfers for victims.

At Robins in the last several months, the Robins SARC office has grown from two to five people. The office, in Bldg. 707, now includes a second fulltime SARC, two fulltime victim advocates, and a deputy SARC, who is a military officer.

There are currently also 25 credentialed volunteer victim advocates on base, with another 25 working to receive credentials through the National Organization for Victim Assistance.