April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month Published April 9, 2010 By Capt. Katherine Connors CT JFHQ/SARC Suicide Prevention Officer BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, East Granby, Conn. -- "Hurts one. Affects all. Preventing sexual assault is everyone's duty." The 2010 Campaign for the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program focuses on the effects sexual assault has on the military's mission readiness. As is readily understood throughout the military, mission readiness defines a unit's ability to deploy quickly and efficiently. A sexual assault can reverberate throughout a unit and beyond, degrading readiness by harming the life of the victim, and the military's ability to work effectively as a team. Mission readiness is negatively impacted in three ways: 1. The alleged perpetrators are often placed on administrative hold and therefore cannot deploy with their units. 2. Victims may not be able to fulfill their duties or may otherwise have their ability to perform the mission compromised as a result of the traumatic events. 3. The attention of the unit leadership shifts from the normal duties involved in maintaining readiness to addressing a victim's needs, investigating the alleged perpetration and restoring the unit's cohesion and trust. Divisiveness may exist not only within a unit but also between units if an alleged perpetrator is in one unit and the victim is in another. Mostly, it affects the victim-loss of trust, safety, and sense of cohesiveness with the military-one victim is one too many!