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SARC always available for sexual assault victims

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. -- The Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, located in the 355th Wing Headquarters building, offers round-the-clock support to victims of sexual abuse and assault -regardless of gender. 

Studies show that one in three women will be a victim of sexual abuse in her lifetime. However, it is also important to note that men can be and have been victims of sexual abuse. 

According to Deborah Morrison, SARC for the 355th Wing, the most recent study shows that one in 33 men, excluding those in prison, will be sexually abused during his lifetime.
"I've had personal experience with men reporting sexual abuse and it is devastating how sexual assault impacts the mission," said Ms. Morrison. 

"The fact that men can be victims of sexual assault can be easily forgotten or overlooked," Ms. Morrison added. "We are still at the point when no one wants to talk about it - especially men." 

According to a letter from the Secretary of the Air Force, "Sexual assault is a crime and will be treated as such in our Air Force. Every single Airman is important to the combat capability of our United States Air Force. Our Core Values are built on themes of respect and mutual dependence. But with sexual assault, everybody loses - the victim, the perpetrator, the entire squadron. It is up to all Airmen to help prevent this heinous crime. 

"We've implemented a restricted reporting option," the SAF letter continues, "which allows Air Force military members who have been sexually assaulted to confidentially
receive medical treatment and support without automatically triggering a criminal
investigation. Similarly, victims who would like for the case to be investigated can make
an immediate unrestricted report, and still receive the support of the sexual assault
prevention and response team." 

The SARC still needs volunteers. Volunteer opportunities include serving as a victim advocate and giving briefings throughout the base. Victim advocates are required to take 40 hours of t raining. Briefers receive 16 hours of training. Victim advocates help victims throughout the entire process. From the time of crisis, through medical services, counseling, and advocacy, the victim advocate assigned to the case is there to assist and support the victim. 

Since a victim advocate will never be assigned more than three cases at a time, many volunteers are needed. The SARC assigns victim advocates to cases based on their
individual skill sets. There is no time limit for a victim continuing to receive SARC services. 

SARC office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and by appointment. The phone number is 228-7272 or 228-SARC. The 24/7 crisis phone number is 940-8059.