Stop the disease

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Rhonda Hutson
  • 944th Fighter Wing Command Chief

I try not to repeat my messages to you but this one is so important I’m going to break my own rule. I will be short because this is real simple.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This year’s theme is ‘Prevention is Possible.’ Some people argue prevention is too lofty a goal as the problem is too pervasive, so this year we have boldly posed the possibility that prevention just might be possible.

Really? We’re going to be aware? We’re going to suggest that maybe, just maybe, prevention is possible? So why are we still talking about sexual assault? Is there a single Airman among us that doesn’t know sexual assault is a problem? Then why do we have an awareness month? Why are we satisfied with debating whether it is preventable? You should be insulted. People think we aren’t aware that there is a problem and they believe we can’t fix it. How does that make you feel? I know it upsets me. Every evil-doer in the world fears us, except those in our ranks.

When I walk around the Wing how often do you think someone raises their hand and yells, oh, oh Chief, watch me assault someone? The answer is zero; never happens. Know why, because they know the justice I will bring down on them. So why does it happen in front of any of us?

The Air Force recently rolled out their new program called ‘Green Dot.’ This is a whole new dynamic approach to influencing a cultural shift in our Air Force that includes all forms of interpersonal violence to include sexual assault. The premise is that if everyone does their part to change the culture and intervenes on some level we will work to eradicate this reprehensible conduct in our Air Force. The new program teaches our Airmen intervention techniques from very subtle to overt, as well as strategies to create a safer environment for everyone. I have attended this course and the tools are a simple way for us all to get involved.

You know what I want the theme for this month to be? Knock it off. Stop looking away. Stop this cancer in our Air Force. Hopefully nobody doubts how your leadership team feels about this. So, at the start of this article I said I would be simple. Here it goes...fix it! Stop being made aware. DO SOMETHING! Never ever look the other way. Everyone can do their part and it starts at the top with us communicating the message across the Wing.

I look forward to your attendance at one of the upcoming Green Dot training opportunities, it truly is a paradigm shift in how we work together to eradicate this ugly disease from our Air Force.