In the past 6 weeks, we have seen multiple military installations in the Army and Air Force take a well rounded approach to reducing sexual assault, increasing bystander intervention, and helping change the ways we people help support survivors of sexual assault.
April 18th – 21st, Fort Riley brought the “Can I Kiss You?” program in for 4 days. For the first two days, the “Can I Kiss You?” Briefing was presented to soldiers on Post. The last 2 days, the program was presented to students in local high schools off Post. The Family Advocacy Program and the SARC office worked together to create an essential approach to such an important topic – help EVERYONE!
You can watch news coverage from the Fort Riley visit by clicking on one of the following links or watching the below video:
Fort Riley Post titled: Speaker also talks with Junction City students
Fort Riley Post titled: Soldiers participate in sexual assault training
Just a few weeks later, I was brought to Europe by both the Army and the Air Force for a speaking tour through Turkey, Germany and England where the two branches effectively teamed up to receive a large scheduling discount to each branch (14 separate days of speaking throughout the tour). You can read the following article from Wiesbaden’s Army Post summarizing one day of the tour: Date Safe: ‘Can I kiss you?’.
Once again, BOTH the Army and the Air Force fully utilized our programming to reach as many people as possible of all ages. Briefings were given to Airmen, Soldiers, middle school students (6th – 8th grade), high school students, and the parents of teenagers (daytime and evening workshops).
To see an in-depth educational effort is inspiring. The well-rounded approach paid off. You would meet Moms and Dads telling you how much their sons and daughters shared with them after the presentation. Then Mom and Dad would attend the PARENT SESSION to keep the conversation going throughout the year. Plus, soldiers and Airmen would stop us and share what strategies they were using.
A highlight was while I was speaking at Ramstein High School in Germany. A week earlier, I had spoke at Incirlik High School in Turkey. The soccer team from Incirlik happened to be staying at Ramstein HS for a the EuroLeague High School Soccer Championships the day I was speaking at Ramstein High School. A group of the soccer players from Incirlik heard I was at the high school and came to talk with me after my program. One ran up and said, “IT WORKS!” I asked, “Since last week, you tried asking?” and he replied, “YES! IT WORKS!” with great enthusiasm and right infront of the rest of his teammates.
Getting to see a teenager realize how wonderful life is when you make the right choices is always thrilling!!
Imagine if more communities took such a well rounded approach to teaching consent, healthy relationships, bystander intervention, and supporting survivors!