CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait –
The deputy commanding general of the 1st Theater Sustainment Command signed a proclamation proclaiming April 2021 as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month March 27.
"Early on in my career, this observance was not really much of an observance," said Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Justin Swanson, the commanding general of the Indianapolis-based 310th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), who is deployed here with his Soldiers to staff the 1st TSC's operational command post, or 1st TSC-OCP.
"It was on the calendar as one of the things we did, maybe there was a run, but now, we have multiple events across multiple days of the month," the general said, who was joined by 310th ESC Command Sgt. Maj. Keith Gwin for the signing.
"I am a big proponent of this--a big supporter," Swanson said.
"For a dad of two daughters, I would love for them both to say: 'Daddy, I want to be in the Army one day.'--it is all part of that whole of how you feel comfortable as a parent and letting members of your family join an organization," he said.
Army Reserve Master Sgt. Lesa A. Dash, who leads the Sexual Harassment-Assault Response Program office for the 1st TSC-OCP, said Swanson's support of the SHARP and SAAPM has been outstanding.
Dash said Swanson reached out to her to let her know that her office's mission is a priority for him.
"It helps us not only know that we have a purpose, but the support from him makes it easier, so if we have anything happen, we know he's going to be there," Dash said.
Staff Sgt. Tara Bowman, a 1st TSC-OCP victim advocate, who was also at the proclamation signing, said her job is to be there for the survivors as they go through the reporting process.
"My job is to fully support them, so they can make decisions and I also offer advocacy services, we'll take them to see the chaplain, or to see if they need a victim's counsel and any of those resources," she said.
Bowman said she helps the survivors get whatever medical attention they need and she helps them keep track of the different deadlines that are part of the process.
After the general signed the proclamation, the staff sergeant told him that the proclamation, which was selected to signify the month's observance, would be displayed at the April 1 cake cutting ceremony to open the camp's observance.
The proclamation would be brought back to the 1st TSC-OCP headquarters for display, she said to the general.
Then, the general said to Bowman: "Do me a favor, too, when all of this is said and done."
Gesturing to the proclamation, he said: "Please make sure that this goes home with us, so we can put it up in our building. I want to make it part of our enduring support and a part of our history of support while we were here."