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MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin National Guard is partnering with the National Guard Bureau to observe the 12th annual Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. This year’s theme is “Eliminate sexual assault: Know your part. Do your part.”

Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin’s adjutant general, reiterated the Wisconsin National Guard’s zero tolerance for sexual assault.

“I mean it when I say there is no place, no tolerance, no excuse in our organization for sexual assault or sexual misconduct,” Dunbar said. “We live by Army and the Air Force core values, and sex crimes committed against one of our own clearly violate those values.”

The Wisconsin National Guard has demonstrated its seriousness with concrete measures. In addition to a dedicated sexual assault prevention and response (SAPR) team, the Wisconsin National Guard was the first state in the nation to implement a special victims counsel in 2013, which provides a licensed attorney qualified in military law to help victims who file unrestricted sexual assault reports to navigate the investigation and military justice processes. In 2014 Wisconsin amended its Wisconsin Code of Military Justice, redefining “rape” and “carnal knowledge” to the more expansive punitive article “sexual assault.” The updated code also addresses sexual assault of a child, computer pornography and stalking, and provides an enhanced Article 120, Sexual Assault Punitive Article.

“Top-down solutions will not prevent sexual assault,” Dunbar said. “It is my expectation that every Soldier and Airman in our organization takes this important issue very seriously. It is at the individual level, the team level, that we protect our battle buddies and Wingmen.”

Gen. Frank Grass, National Guard Bureau chief, Lt. Gen. Timothy Kadavy, Army National Guard director, and Maj. Gen. Brian Neal, Air National Guard acting director, released a joint statement urging a unity of effort to prevent sexual assault.

“We are asking each Guard member to personally pledge to elevate awareness, raise their voice, and act should inappropriate behavior occur,” the statement reads. “We must recognize our part in stopping sexual assault, starting with our own awareness and knowing where and when to intervene.”