Added: Beatrice Dirksen - Date: 04.12.2021 05:45 - Views: 32556 - Clicks: 2941
By Lt. Jay Silveria, U. Introduction Madam Chair, Ranking Member Kelly, and other distinguished members of the committee, I appreciate the opportunity today to discuss an issue that is of fundamental importance to the health and safety of our cadets at the United States Air Force Academy and an issue of grave importance to our national security.
Thank you for your dedication to confronting sexual harassment and sexual assault, misconduct that has no place at our Academies or in our military, and for your concern about the well-being of our cadets and cadet candidates. I can assure you that these are concerns shared not only by myself, but also by the dedicated staff, faculty, leadership, and cadets at our Academy. As the Superintendent of the United States Air Force Academy, I appear before you today on behalf of the future leaders of our Air Force — our 4, cadets and Preparatory School cadet candidates — as well as the faculty and staff that are working hard to develop them into a new generation of high-character leaders and innovative warrior-scholars.
This is a leadership issue, and I know I speak for everyone at the Academy when I say that the s in the report do not reflect the standards we hold ourselves to as leaders, and they do not reflect the core values of our Air Force or our Air Force Academy. We are committed to addressing these issues head-on across our Academy, and to be the example for the Air Force, the Department of Defense, and society. But it is clear that our past efforts have not had the effects we intended or expected.
These are unacceptable. There is no question — when we have even one instance of sexual assault or sexual harassment at our Academy, we have a problem. Far too many of our cadets have had experiences along the spectrum of harmful behaviors, from sexual harassment to sexual assault. While reports to Air Force authorities of sexual assault have gone down from 33 to 29 since the report, the estimated past-year prevalence of sexual assault against women has increased from It shows that cadets at the Academy have harmed their peers, those that they intend to serve alongside in defense of our nation.
The data does not show us exactly why these egregious acts occurred, but we know that these are people, not statistics, and that leadership is the solution. As leaders, we set the tone for an appropriate culture and climate, enforce standards, and ensure the safety of those entrusted to our care. Where we have fallen short, it is our responsibility to take active ownership of these shortcomings and work aggressively to correct them.
I am disheartened and frustrated by thebut I will not rest until we get this right. Holding perpetrators of these crimes appropriately able is key to this effort. I appreciate your continued vigilance on this issue — it is a serious problem that requires steadfast attention, and your oversight is rooted in a care for our cadets and our military that I wholeheartedly Wives looking real sex Air Force Academy.
We have a problem, and there is Wives looking real sex Air Force Academy doubt that we need to do better to correct it. Any occurrence of sexual harassment and assault is corrosive to our ability to train the leaders of character that our Air Force and our nation need. The data clearly shows that we have fallen short, and it will inform further review and adjustment of our programs and policies. While the programs we have implemented in the past have not yet produced the we had intended, we have already taken numerous steps in the last year, and we are working diligently to create new programs and adjust existing ones in order to better serve our cadets.
I have personally met with survivors, both men and women, one-on-one and I have learned a great deal about their survivor experiences. As a commander, leader, Airman, and father, their stories rock me to the core and they are my motivation to change this culture and stop this crime. We are moving out. In addition to direction from the Department of Defense and Department of the Air Force, we have several programs of key importance to the Academy.
I would like to highlight a of recent and ongoing efforts we have undertaken, and several courses of action we are taking in the future. We are encouraged by some of the initial and feedback from programs and events such as these, and will continue to refine our approach as we remain fully engaged in the fight against sexual harassment and sexual assault at our Academy. Pathways to Thriving and survivor care This past April we held the Pathways to Thriving Summit, which from feedback from attendees including current cadets, past cadets, survivors, and community leaders was an incredibly impactful event.
For me personally, this was one of the most eye-opening experiences of my career. At this first-ever event for any Academy, survivors of sexual assault were invited to gather together for a two-day summit at our campus, where they collaborated with leaders and subject matter experts.
The overall intent for the summit, organized by the acting Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program manager, Dr. Kimberly Dickman, who is seated behind me here today, was not only to facilitate healing but also to include sexual assault survivors in the discussion on where the Academy has been on this issue, and how we move forward productively.
Working groups gathered together for sessions tasked with coming up with improvements to our Sexual Assault Prevention and Response efforts, and presented these ideas to leadership for implementation. As a direct result of this summit, numerous programs were created and are now in place. I took the opportunity to apologize to survivors for what they went through, but also expressed my gratitude for their willingness to attend, to tell their stories, and to share their ideas on how we can improve. I believe this summit was a productive experience for all involved, and for our Academy.
This spring we will hold a second summit called Pathways to Prevention where we will learn about and work on issues specific to our Academy that can impact the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment. Caring for sexual assault survivors, no matter when or where their assault took place, remains a central priority for the United States Air Force Academy, and for our Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office.
This includes providing education, advocacy, emotional support, referrals, and information. This care is provided to cadets whether they were assaulted on base, away on leave, or even before they became cadets at the Academy. My predecessor recognized a problem with our Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office, and we made swift, local changes to ensure that cadets receive the quality of care and support they need. The appropriate programs and resources were tailored to their needs, and in Spring we replaced all personnel in the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office, including the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator and all full-time victim advocates.
We also created new positions for a program manager, two violence prevention integrators, and hired a separate, additional sexual assault response coordinator focused on our permanent party Airmen. Our permanent party and cadet Airmen require unique, specialized care given their differences in culture, developmental levels, and living and social environments. This allows one sexual assault response coordinator to focus solely on cadets. All of these changes, made shortly before the survey, were a necessary measure to put the office on a proper footing and build a foundation for better prevention and care.
I am confident that the new organizational structure we have in place offers improved capabilities in each of these areas. I want all survivors to get the support they need and want so that they can reach their full potential as pilots, researchers, engineers, astronauts, athletes, Rhodes Scholars, and above all -- leaders.
And, we want perpetrators of sexual violence to be brought to justice and held appropriately able. Those found culpable have no place at our Academy or in the Air Force. To remove this barrier and encourage the reporting of sexual assault, the new policy states that if a cadet reports a sexual assault, he or she can get help and support without having to fear that they will be punished for minor collateral misconduct including unauthorized absences, consensual intimate behavior in the cadet area, underage drinking, and fraternization.
This ensures a consistent approach that encourages reporting, while also avoiding unnecessary additional stressors and maintaining good order and discipline. While it is difficult to determine the factors that impact reporting s, since this was put in place, we have received positive feedback from cadets indicating that they came forward as a result of this policy.
We want them to report. We want them to trust our leadership will not tolerate a lack of respect on our campus.
With this in mind, multiple initiatives have been implemented to promote responsible alcohol use at the Air Force Academy. Sophomore cadets receive training related to responsible alcohol consumption and to reduce risk factors associated with alcohol. We also retrained all alcohol servers, and changed alcohol serving policies to promote a safer environment where alcohol is served.
However, this past year, the Secretary of the Air Force changed the policy, which now allows the Secretary to recoup educational costs for any cadet regardless of year that is disenrolled for serious misconduct.
As a result of this change, we recently saw 5 cadets who were disenrolled for sexual misconduct and received recoupment orders who ly would not have been subject to recoupment. This effort is ongoing, and is intended to enhance the safety and security of our cadets. Additionally, the units serve as a deterrent against criminal conduct, and provide footage for investigations in the event that an incident occurs. Units are not installed in any rooms or areas that would violate the privacy of our cadets. When a survivor chooses to make an unrestricted report of a sexual assault, in addition to connecting them to services with our numerous helping agencies, we convene a monthly Case Management Group meeting.
This group is a multidisciplinary team that meets to discuss the well-being of a survivor, and I personally chair these meetings as the Superintendent. The goal of this meeting is to discuss the support and needs of each survivor amongst Academy leaders. The survivor is notified prior to the meeting and given an opportunity to share his or her thoughts or concerns with the group through his or her representative.
This model provides a forum to ensure that survivors are receiving the proper care, support, and respect after making a report, and that they are not experiencing any retaliation. We feel so strongly about the importance and benefits of the Case Management Group for the survivor, the institution, and community that members of the Sexual Assault and Prevention and Response and Judge Advocate offices presented at a national sexual violence prevention conference.
Additionally, my team and I recently submitted an article for publication to share our lessons learned with university leaders in the hopes that they might employ a similar initiative at Wives looking real sex Air Force Academy schools.
A of programs have recently been implemented, some just now maturing enough to evaluate, and others that we have recently implemented and will continue to assess and refine. Immediate objectives include: 1 Promoting resiliency and healthy development of cadets 2 Enhancing cadet personal and social competence skills 3 Enhance motivation and skills to deter unhealthy behaviors, especially in risky situations A research study with the Class of is showing promising effectiveness for Cadet Healthy Personal Skills compared with a control group.
Cadets who received the training have exhibited improved attitudes and skills, especially regarding attitudes toward sexual assault and consent. Six-month indicate a decrease in victimization and an increase in consent knowledge and victim support.
We are currently reviewing the one-year of this program. All incoming cadets last year received Cadet Healthy Personal Skills training and it will continue going forward. This program consists of four, three-hour units, and seeks to empower participants to recognize risk cues for sexual violence. Trainees learn to quickly and accurately assess potentially dangerous sexual situations and to reduce emotional and social obstacles to resistance. Trainees are also instructed in self-defense skills. This is a program based on sound evidence and has shown ificant reduction in the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses.
Last year we trained seven members of the Academy to implement EAAA and we will beta test the program this spring. Healthy Relationships Training HRT First implemented inthe Academy Athletic Department, our Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office, and our Judge Advocate office, partnered to develop lessons on healthy relationships with our intercollegiate athletes, who comprise roughly one-quarter Wives looking real sex Air Force Academy our students. Across colleges and universities, intercollegiate athletes have a higher risk of sexual assault perpetration, warranting this targeted, preemptive intervention to prevent sexual violence among this portion of our population that comprises a greater percentage of our student body than most other institutions.
A lot of research is coming out on relationships and sexuality education as key to sexual violence prevention both in perpetration and victimization reduction. With this in mind, our team developed formal lessons with objectives and outcomes centered on mutual respect and effective communication. The lessons are informed by evidence from a of programs shown to reduce sexual violence, and one module is conducted each year in small groups, by every athletic team.
The training is popular among cadets, and takes place in a judgment-free, positive environment, where everyone is allowed to speak freely. It provides a safe environment to be vulnerable to [and] with your teammates. A formal evaluation of the HRT program will be accomplished this Spring, soon followed by a plan to implement the program with all cadets at the Academy.
Several other institutions of higher education have visited our campus to learn more about the program, and a of Air Force bases have asked to use our HRT curriculum. We made this decision not out of mistrust of our own ability to assess our effectiveness in these areas, but instead to benefit from an impartial, objective and exhaustive examination of our entire program. The firm we chose to conduct the review, Collegiate Sports Associates, was selected due to their outstanding reputation, relevant expertise, and familiarity with NCAA Division 1 athletic programs.
There are several observations by Collegiate Sports Associates in the review that I am proud to see, including a positive assessment of our ly mentioned HRT program and our creation of a full-time position dedicated to Athletics Department culture and climate.Wives looking real sex Air Force Academy
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