Local bases step up war against sexual assault

Published: Monday, March 11, 2013 at 05:27 PM.

Four other airmen attended the 40-hour, weeklong course that wrapped up Feb. 22. That brought the total number of trained victim advocates at Hurlburt to 38.

That’s up from 19 in 2011, when Morrison took over the program. A similar program at Eglin has about 60 victim advocates.

They are all volunteers, and Morrison said interest is growing.

The Air Force has put greater emphasis on stopping sexual assaults in recent months. Last year, a sex abuse scandal came to light at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, where every recruit attends basic training.

More than 30 instructors are being investigated in connection with more than 60 victims who have alleged some type of sexual misconduct there.

In November, Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley sent a letter to airmen stating that sexual assaults will not be tolerated and that every airman must combat the problem. Although final numbers have not been released, the Air Force expects more than 700 airmen to have reported sexual assaults in 2012. However, the actual number likely is much higher because many victims do not report them.

Donley called on airmen to intervene when they see potential for harm, discourage sexist behavior and attitudes, and provide victim care.

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