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Airmen learn sexual assault prevention, intervention tactics

Maj. Jessica Hastings, 161st Air Refueling Wing sexual assault response coordinator, leads nearly 700 Airmen in the annual Sexual Assault Prevention and Response training at the 161st Air Refueling Wing, Phoenix, April 12. Quoting Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III regarding the effectiveness of the SAPR program, Hastings said, “Until there are zero sexual assaults, we are not done.” (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Courtney Enos)

Maj. Jessica Hastings, 161st Air Refueling Wing sexual assault response coordinator, leads nearly 700 Airmen in the annual Sexual Assault Prevention and Response training at the 161st Air Refueling Wing, Phoenix, April 12. Quoting Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III regarding the effectiveness of the SAPR program, Hastings said, “Until there are zero sexual assaults, we are not done.” (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Courtney Enos)

Staff Sgt. Tressa Planeta, 161st Force Support Squadron fitness specialist, participates, along with nearly 700 Airmen, in the annual Sexual Assault Prevention and Response training at the 161st Air Refueling Wing, Phoenix, April 12. Sexual assaults in the military decreased in 2014, according to a Rand survey. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Courtney Enos)

Staff Sgt. Tressa Planeta, 161st Force Support Squadron fitness specialist, participates, along with nearly 700 Airmen, in the annual Sexual Assault Prevention and Response training at the 161st Air Refueling Wing, Phoenix, April 12. Sexual assaults in the military decreased in 2014, according to a Rand survey. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Courtney Enos)

PHOENIX -- The 161st Air Refueling Wing conducted annual Sexual Assault Prevention and Response training Sunday, April. 12.

SAPR training is designed to raise Airmen's awareness of sexual assault and motivate them to intervene when they believe a peer is at risk or has suffered an assault. Air National Guard leaders are investing time and resources while aiming at a zero tolerance policy.

This year's training focused on creating an environment where sexual assault is not tolerated. Specifically, it discussed stopping sexual assault at its source and preventing it, rather than waiting to respond to an assault that has already occurred.

"Our goal is to get the prevention piece [of the SAPR program] locked down so we won't have sexual assaults to respond to," said Maj. Jessica Hastings, the wing's sexual assault and response coordinator.

Training encourages Airmen at all levels to be supportive and to seek help when it is needed. Many options are available to victims of sexual assault; from medical treatment to criminal investigation procedures, men and women have many options to choose from whether they choose restricted or non-restricted reporting.

"The goal is to provide Airmen with tools for preventing sexual assault, and to encourage them to help keep their fellow Airmen and their work environments safe, because without that safety, the overall Air Force mission is hindered," said Hastings.

"Sexual assault affects the wing's readiness, and the wing is committed to preventing sexual assault," said Col. Gary Brewer, Jr., the wing commander. "There should be no confusion that there is no place for that kind of conduct here."

Victims of sexual assault are encouraged to call the wing's SAPR hotline at (602) 302-9176. The sexual assault response coordinator is available 24/7 to anyone at any time.