By Staff Sgt. Charles Johnston
A small ceremony marking the start of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month was held April 1 at the State Military Reservation in Concord.
Senior leaders lined up to adorn a pledge board with signatures to demonstrate support for survivors and to promote prevention and awareness.
“I take this seriously,” said NH Adjutant Gen. David Mikolaities. “We’ve got to just get after this. This isn’t just about me signing a board.”
Though April is a featured month for the cause, it highlights the guard’s year-round effort to eliminate sexual offenses through cultural change, prevention, intervention, investigation, accountability, advocacy, assessment and training.
“The signing of the pledge board is something very significant to our program,” said Brian Conroy, NHNG victim coordinator. “It shows the survivors of sexual assault how important it is that we stand behind them.”
The COVID-19 health crisis changed the complexion of this year’s SAAPM event. Attendees stood approximately six feet apart, then liberally used hand sanitizer after signing the board with the same felt tip marker.
Preventative postures also altered this year’s SAAPM 5K. A virtual race is being held all this month. Entrants can snap a photo of themselves walking or running and email it to event organizers, along with their finish time.