Fort Gordon is ramping up its training efforts and policy safeguards to improve awareness and accountability in sexual assault cases.
The goal is to create an environment in which soldiers and civilians feel more comfortable in reporting such crimes, said Sgt. 1st Class Toni Nelson, Fort Gordon’s sexual assault response coordinator.
A special victims unit has been formed, and more than 125 additional soldiers – two per battalion – have been trained through Fort Gordon’s Sexual Harassment, Assault, Response and Prevention program.
The Army expects such reports to increase, a positive sign that victims have more trust in new policies and are willing to come forward, officials say.
“What we want to do is make the reach very short for a victim to get help as fast as possible,” Nelson said.
Nelson said she wants to “eradicate sexual assault before it occurs,” using four lines of effort – prevention, accountability, reporting and assessment. She plans to educate the military members at the post on the defense strategy at 1:30 p.m. today inside Alexander Hall, while leading a command program designed by Maj. Gen. LaWarren Patterson, commanding general of the U.S. Signal Center and Fort Gordon.
The guest speaker will be Anne Elick Henry, the director of Rape Crisis and Sexual Assault Services at University Hospital. It will be followed by a shoe drive and a walk at Barton Field on April 30.