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Bystander Intervention Training—SAPR gets a makeover

(Graphic courtesy of www.sapr.mil.)

This sexual assault prevention poster is courtesy of www.myduty.mil, a website created for military members who either have been sexually assaulted, or know someone who has been sexually assaulted. In addition, the website emphasizes bystander intervention, one of the most effective methods of preventing sexual assault. All service members are responsible for protecting their own; therefore, everyone needs to be educated and accountable when it comes to sexual assault prevention.

Charleston, W.Va. -- The 130th Airlift Wing introduced the Air Force's new Bystander Intervention Training at the June unit training assembly.

BIT replaces Sexual Assault Prevention and Response training that had been in place since 2004.

The reason for the change?

"Even though SAPR raised awareness, sexual assault in the Air Force did not decrease at the rate the Air Force needed it to," said Lt. Col. Jeffrey A. Bevins, the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator for the 130th AW.

Lt. Col. Bevins said the Air Force hired outside consultants to evaluate SAPR and compare it to the civilian side in order to put together the new program called BIT, for short.

BIT consists of three 90-minutes sessions--a men's course; a women's course; and a leadership (coed) course for commanders and shop supervisors. Unit members only have to take one of these courses to become certified.

Lt. Col. Bevins said BIT is directed at getting leadership to be more proactive in monitoring the culture of their work environments. All unit members should intervene when they see a situation that could lead to someone being sexually assaulted.

Another change is a class size limited to 15-25 participants to make the scenario-based training more interactive.

"When on military duty, intervention could mean you take a bottle of water over to someone at a party who may be drinking alcohol and impaired, and suggest they slow down," he said. "If you do that and it prevents someone from being sexually assaulted, that's a victory."

All unit members must be certified in BIT by June 30, 2012.
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