Making a difference for those who may be struggling in silence

  • Published
  • By Capt. Tawny Pelletier
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing SAPR Office

Every year we as military members receive mandatory sexual harassment and assault briefings. It can feel repetitive, and it can often leave us asking “Where are we going with this?”

As the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response team and as an installation, we want to make a difference for those service members who may be struggling in silence. We want to prevent sexual harassment and assault against our brothers and sisters in arms. Additionally, we take it upon ourselves to set the norms that promote a culture of dignity and respect. By doing so, we make sexual violence less likely to occur.

So I want to be transparent in this commentary: We are not a perfect installation – we have had our setbacks. However, we learn from each of these setbacks on how to make Al Udeid a better, safer place to work and live. Over the past few months, I have witnessed changes that team AUAB has implemented in order to combat sexual harassment and assault, a few of them are listed here:

  • The Security Forces “Guardian Angel Program” escorts any member who feels unsafe on base. The Guardian Angels can be reached at DSN 437-2669 or WhatsApp +974 5045-0974.
  • Armed Security Forces foot patrols have been implemented in the living areas.
  • Senior noncommissioned officers were moved into every CC two-story dorm as the dorm leader.
  • Additional lighting was installed in both the BPC and CC dorm walk way and outdoor areas.
  • Camera coverage expanded, and we are working to have coverage throughout the living areas.
  • Wi-Fi coverage is being expanded around the CC dorms and along the Yellow Brick Road, vastly increasing travelers’ connectivity on AUAB if they need assistance.
  • We authorized unit integrity in the double stacks if a unit can regularly and continuously fill an entire building.

And while these changes are important, we must continue to take a hard look at ourselves as an installation. Everyone is responsible for fostering a culture of zero tolerance towards sexual harassment and assault. I encourage you (yes, that really means YOU, reader) to play a part in prevention efforts.

We will continue to change, and – more importantly – we want to change. But to do so effectively, we need your help. If there is something you think Al Udeid should be doing differently, we need your insight. Send us your inputs via the AUAB Feedback or via the AF Connect App. We will work with you to implement these changes, or you can submit anonymously for us to consider. Regardless of how you submit the changes, we need you.