Respect for one another is what you have sworn to protect

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- As members of the Unites States Air Force, we have received hours of education on the effects of sexual assault in the workplace. Our Air Force has committed itself to eliminating sexual assault among our Airmen, and many of us would never cross that line of making our wingman feel uncomfortable, threatened or violated.

When thinking about the effects of sexual assault in the workplace, my thoughts immediately turn to the impossibility that this is even an issue, but the reality is that sexual assault is occurring and the perpetrators are the very people we trust and respect - our brothers, our sisters, our Wingman.

Sexual Assault in the workplace impacts the victim, their wingman and the mission. The victim can experience physical and emotional trauma for years. The debilitating effects include: hopelessness, despair, isolation, disgust and worthlessness. No Airman deserves to feel this way or should be placed in this position due to another Airman's actions.

Wingman is a term used to show that we will always have someone by our side to aid and protect us whether we are simply taking out the trash or conducting flying missions. In the situation of a sexual assault, a wingman may feel regret for not noticing something was not right, guilt for not being able to protect their wingman and anger toward the perpetrator.

Sexual assault impacts our ability to "Fly-Fight-Win". Time will be taken to ensure the victim's safety and wellbeing are met, focus will be directed to ensuring the perpetrator is brought to justice, and wingman will be reassured that every action is being taken to promote Zero Tolerance.

Our Air Force is comprised of two entities: Mission and People. You cannot accomplish one without the other. Our "Mission" is stated in the oath that was taken the day we enlisted or commissioned. The "People" are how we go about accomplishing that mission. Being a member of the Air Force means you have adopted a "new" family. We are all brothers and sisters that have joined a Profession of Arms. We all become a family and within a family there is an inherent respect that everyone deserves.

Respect is a right everyone is entitled to, as professionals and family, we should all ensure that respecting one another comes first. To be respected, you must carry yourself in a way that will demand respect, take actions that will gain respect, and give respect to others in such a way that others will follow suit. Once respect is established all the other key pieces will fall into place: cohesion, morale, will, honor, and excellence.

Every member in the military should be extremely proud of the exceeding standards we live by and uphold those standards on a daily basis. Every Airman should take pride in protecting each other, honoring our nation, and filling the uniform you wear everyday with the honor those that have served before us have died to protect, honor, and cherish.