If you need support now call the DoD Safe Helpline (877) 995-5247 or 911. For other resources, see our Survivor Resources page.
Cadet Mental Health
We are increasingly concerned about cadet mental health during Covid. Cadets, especially 3 and 4 degrees, are isolated with few if any classes in-person. The cadet "buzz/rumor network" advises other cadets to 'not go to the Peak Performance Center (PPC/cadet counseling) or your chain of command'. This is not new to USAFA and a similar email regarding sexual assault resulted in the Congressional Fowler Commission investigating USAFA in 2003. Knowing that mental health issues have long been a potential result of sexual assault, this issue cannot be ignored regardless of the cause. The issue is the real and imagined fear of losing all they have worked toward (pilot qualification, graduation, choice of career path, security clearance) if they seek counseling. This is tied to AF medical board policy. In the past, Supt Jay Silveria supported and secured waivers to the commissioning medical board for at least five cadets. This was not enough to change cadet trust in the system. Distrust of mental health support is a perennial problem in the military. Policy at USAFA is seemingly entrenching this mindset before commissioning. We do not propose a solution but change is needed to ensure healthy cadets and 2Lts entering our services. Lets not forget two First Class cadets committed suicide last year after the Covid lockdown at USAFA. We have been in contact with the AF surgeon General, Lt Gen Dorothy Hogg. In her (immediate) response to a member's letter, she noted that "we are working hard to educate that getting mental health will not disqualify you for any job unless it needs to i.e. it is severe enough or long lasting requiring intensive therapy." Additional mental health providers will not help if cadets are afraid of using them. Feel free to share your concerns with her and the BoV.
General Courts Martial (GCM)
Our goal is to attend every cadet GCM involving sexual misconduct and show our support for those willing to press charges and face the ordeal of a GCM. Please consider attending a GCM if you can.
- 4-8 Oct 2020 - General Court Martial, US v Cadet Brown (Rape)
In Oct C1C Brown was found guilty of Battery and innocent of Rape. He received dismissal from USAFA. The trial ran for 12 days, over the weekend and often after duty hours. The defense used a civilian attorney that convinced the jury the rape charge was not warranted (he said, she said) despite the defendant admitting to lying to the OSI and caught lying under oath multiple times. The victim was on the stand for over 11 hours. The victim did not initially choose to prosecute (filed a "restricted" report with the SARC). However, when learning of other cadets reporting assault by the same perpetrator, she changed the report to "Unrestricted" and pressed for prosecution. Other victims were either unwilling or unable to testify in this GCM. The jury included 4 women and 4 men, 1 Colonel, 5 Lt Cols and 2 2Lts (both recent grads). The victim is now a 2Lt and her Commanding Officer, Supervisor and First Sgt attended the GCM fully supporting her. I want to commend our ZASA reps for attending, especially Marybeth Ulrich who went over and beyond attending, and assisted the victim's family during the trial. We are providing feedback to the SAPR Office and the JAG.
- 10-21 Aug 2020 - General Court Martial for Sexual Assault, Maj Burns (Rape/sexual abuse of a child)
Major Burns was found not guilty of all charges including rape, rape of a child and sexual abuse of a child. There was no cadet involved. The defendant opted to be tried by a judge and not a jury. For more details see the Gazette article.
- 9-13 Sep 2019 General Court Martial for Sexual Assault
The accused Cadet First Class was found Not Guilty by a jury of five women and three men. Both the victim and accused testified. Two members of ZASA Board of Directors attended the proceedings. We will continue to attend all USAFA cadet sexual assault related court martials in support of the victims/survivors.
- 6-9 Aug 2019 General Court Martial USAFA Cadet Hong (abusive sexual contact, attempted sexual assault)
Cadet Hong accepted a plea deal and committed to testify in another case. He pled guilty to assault and battery and received dismissal and 8 months confinement. For more details see the Gazette article. A member of ZASA Board of Directors attended the Hong GCM proceeding. We will continue to attend all USAFA cadet sexual assault related court martials in support of the victims/survivors.
- 16-20 Nov 2020 - General Court Martial, US v Cadet Kim (Abusive sexual contact and assault consummated by battery)
- Another cadet victim opted to take sexual misconduct allegations to a Board of Inquiry/Discharge Board instead of a court martial. The Board found the defendant guilty and the defendant was dismissed under "other than honorable" conditions.
Stories in the News
How to Sell Your Rape Story
The Woman Who Pioneered the Rape Kit
Guilty Verdict in Weinstein Trial a Victory for Survivors
Will We Ever Figure Out How to Talk to Boys About Sex?
Checkpoints: A Prevention Puzzle and A Mission of Support
December 2019 -- Jeff Holmquist wrote two feature articles for Checkpoints, the AOG's official magazine, on sexual assault prevention and support for victims. The second article "A Mission of Support" centers on the efforts made by ZASA.
'It Will Always Be A Part of My Life': Chanel Miller is Ready to Talk
September 22, 2019 -- "It Will Always Be A Part of My Life" -- Chanel Miller discusses her book "Know My Name" in which she describes her sexual assault on the Stanford campus and how it has affected her life.
DoD IG: Military Sexual Assault More Likely Than Combat to Result in PTSD
November 5, 2019 -- Military Times writer Haley Britzky, describes the alarming statistic reported by the Inspector General that more military members have PTSD from sexual assault trauma than combat trauma.
I’m the Comedian Who Just Confronted Harvey Weinstein. Here’s Why I Spoke Up.
Abusers banned on UTSA teams
Six Men Tell Their Stories
September 10, 2019 -- In a New York Times article, author Dave Phillips and photographer Mary Calvert brilliantly capture what they can of the stories of six military men who came forward about being sexually assaulted. These military members were part of our Navy, Army, Air Force, and National Guard, and yet faced dehumanization and disrespect from their own. It is in stories that we see the true humanity of an issue, so we urge you to take the time to immerse yourself, and try to see through someone else's eyes.
#MeToo -- and Then what?
June 19, 2019 -- An Inside Higher Ed article in which Jay Silveria, the commander of the United States Air Force Academy, shares a process the military uses to support sexual assault survivors that civilian institutions might also find helpful. To do this, Silveria describes the organizational support system at the Academy and then considers the pros and cons of this approach. He parts with a plea for institutions to come together to share both successes and failures in survivor support, because despite the additional pressures this will place on an institution, such actions could have a life-changing impact on the survivors.
Enhanced Access, Acknowledge, Act (EAAA) Program
USAFA has started a new prevention/awareness program for women. Over half of the incoming freshmen women will receive the training. EAAA was developed in Canada and has been implemented on many campuses under the name “Flip the Script”. Research shows it reduced sexual victimization of women by over 40%. Here is the website for more information on the program. The program is still in a test phase. Results are promising and we hope to have a decision about its future implementation soon.