April 2, 2010

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

By Maj. Gen. Robert B. Newman, Jr.
The Adjutant General of Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. — I want to write to every Virginia Guardsman to reinforce the goal of a violence free Virginia Guard in recognition of National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  This year's slogan is "Hurts One, Affects All," which is a poignant reminder that when a Guardsman is sexually assaulted it hurts the Guardsman and those around him or her in many ways.  The Guardsman's family will certainly go through pain and suffering. Children will see a difference in mom or dad as the affected person may distance themselves from their family. The sexual assault can also affect the community. Sexual assault will affect mission readiness because of the lack of trust between fellow Guardsmen and a lack of mission focus. It even affects the perpetrator due to the criminal action that will occur.
One out of every 10 female college students between 19 and 24 years of age is sexually assaulted while 1 out of every 17 men aged 19 to 24 is sexually assaulted. There are several key preventative measures that can lessen the chances of sexual assault: 

  1. Always use the buddy system when you are out.

  2. Be careful not to leave your beverages unattended as this is a common way for perpetrators to place the drug Rohypnol, commonly known as the date rape drug, into a person's drink.

  3. Finally, everyone has a duty to act.

All members of the Virginia National Guard must remember the warrior ethos and never leave a fallen comrade behind.  In the case of sexual assault, the fallen comrade is not a combat related injury, but a victim deserves the support and assistance from all in the Guard

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