JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska --
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska – Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response offices hosted a Walk-A-Lap for Sexual Assault Survivors event April 5th until 4 p.m.
“The goal of this event is to walk 6,083 laps – the number of sexual assaults across the Department of Defense,” said Army Master Sgt. Lisa King, noncomissioned officer in charge of the SAPR office here. “We want every lap to represent a survivor.”
Volunteers from around base worked with the SAPR offices to bedeck the Elmendorf Gym in a variety of signs, enormous footprints, prizes and information tables.
Air Force Col. George T.M. Dietrich III, JBER and 673d Air Base Wing commander, made an appearance and subsequently, a speech before walking a lap himself with the base mascot Jay the Polar Bear.
“Sometimes seeing these events – and seeing leadership participate in them – lets people know they are supported,” King said.
Participants aren’t limited to one lap of course, they can walk or run as many as they please. Canteens and other prizes were provided based on how many laps one completed.
While there was no raising of funds at the event, the coordinators are using the day to ensure people understood the severity of sexual assault in the DoD as well as who they could turn to and how.
“We want to make sure that service members know and have access to the crisis line number if they are in trouble or need help,” King said.
Anyone needing support or to talk about sexual assault can call the Safe Help Line at (877)-995-5247.
“It’s important for awareness,” King said. “Sometimes we don’t know how many sexual assaults are happening – or even that they’re happening.”
“I think it’s important because a lot of people don’t understand the vastness of this issue,” said Air Force 1st Lt. Julie Dewey, 673d Air Base Wing Deputy Sexual Assault Response Coordinator. “As a military member, we are unique because we are like a family. When you experience something like that in a family environment, the effects are so much greater.”