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Soldiers Walk To Support Victims Of Sexual Assault In Military

By SGT. JESSICA DUVERNAY

25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs

Sgt. 1st Class Bridgett Joseph is no stranger to the effects of sexual assault and harassment on a victim.

As the victim advocate and sexual assault response coordinator for Wheeler Army Airfield’s 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, she deals firsthand with emotions and consequences victims struggle through after experiencing a traumatic event.

The 25th CAB sponsored a Take Back the Night walk April 30 that was open to soldiers, families, friends and Department of Defense employees to empower and motivate change in the community.

The walk spanned the entire Wheeler base, to include housing areas, barracks and work areas.

“You want to know that people are alert and people care,” said Joseph.

“Everyone wants to take part in making sure the community is safe, and so no matter if it’s a sailor, an airmen or Marine, whoever comes here as a visitor, whether we bring spouses or friends.

“It’s important that they know we are vigilant and we are serious about getting after this culture; that we make sure we are free of sexual harassment and assault because it does not have a place in the Army or the military or society at large.”

The walk signified the end of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

According to the 2013 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, there were more than 5,000 cases of sexual assault that year.

“I think that it’s critical, the awareness of sexual assault. This is (Army Chief of Staff) Gen. (Raymond) Odierno’s No. 1 priority,” said CAB commander Col. Kenneth Hawley.

“We here at the division support that, the installation supports that, and we want everyone to understand the importance of sexual assault awareness and what (an assault) does in damage not only to our families but our organizations and the Army as a whole.”

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