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Massachusetts National Guard SARC’s receives an F.

By Panayiota

The Department of Defense (DOD) spent millions on their Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program to help combat what is currently a sexual assault epidemic in the United States Armed Forces. They distributed posters with slogans such as “hurt one, affects all” to all United States Military Bases worldwide.

A poster produced by the Department of Defense 2010

Aside from the posters they formed new positions called Sexual Assault Response Coordinators or better known as SARCs. These SARCs are suppose to be found on every DOD military base to offer support to rape survivors from the time that they report the assault till the survivor chooses that they no longer need a SARC. They are suppose to be available 24/7 to all sexual assault survivors regardless if they are deployed, serving state side, reservists and Guardsmen on drill or Active Duty members who been assaulted while on duty or at liberty. They are suppose to advocate for the survivor and be on the lookout for her or his best interest. According to http://www.myduty.mil, a DOD website about the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program:

“The Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) is considered the center of gravity when it comes to ensuring that victims of sexual assault receive appropriate and responsive care. They serve as the single point of contact to coordinate sexual assault victim care. The term “Sexual Assault Response Coordinator” is a term utilized throughout DoD and the Services to facilitate communication and transparency regarding sexual assault response capability. “

SARCs also have the reputation of ignoring survivors, blaming survivors and not returning phone calls to rape survivors in distress.

A Massachusetts Guardman wrote about her SARC

“After over a dozen failed attempts I blocked my phone number and called her. This time she answered and when I said it was me she went…”Hello….hello…I can’t hear you….click” she did not answer the phone when I called back”

SARCs primary responsibility is to help survivors so why do they disappear once a service member reports a rape? Isabella, a volunteer from the Military Rape Crisis Center went to investigate just that. On the Massachusetts National Guard website it list the contact information of the SARCs working for the Mass National Guard. The same contact information is posted below the DOD-issued posters on Mass National Guard installations throughout the state. Isabella started calling all the SARCs starting with the Massachusetts National Guard Sexual Assault Hotline at 508-889-6644 and went down the list to calling individual SARCs. Despite “the SARC position is filled with a full-time service member to ensure 24 hour availability” promise, not one SARC answered her call.

The problem does not end there. Isaballa continued on to emails and three of the six emails that she sent was bounced back to her. To confirm that it was a problem on the National Guard’ end and not her email server I also tried emailing them using my three emails; my work account, college email account and my personal gmail account and the same emails bounced right back to me as being undeliverable.

As Isabella wrote:

“Now imagine if I was Active Duty and I was just assaulted. Afraid, angry, and confused. I want to talk to a SARC but where are they? What if I was overseas? I called my SARC and nobody picks up. I send an email and it gets bounce right back to me. A person who may have just experienced the worst trauma in their lives may get fed up and change their mind and not report it or not get help. They want you to report an assault but they do not make it easy. What if you are the parent of a woman that was raped and you want resources for her? Or you can be just someone like me, a service provider trying to speak to a SARC for a client.”

These are the folks that are being paid by our tax dollars to help sexual assault survivors. Their sole duty is to help rape survivors yet their contact information has been incorrectly given. Yes, with further investigation you can find the correct contact info but why put additional stress on someone who just been raped? Information on how to get help after a rape should be readily available and always correct and updated. Our troops deserve to be supported especially if one been sexually assaulted and as it stands now the military is failing our troops. They military is saying “look at us! We spent millions on helping survivors. We really care about our rape survivors and have a zero-tolerance policy!” but when you look closely it is just an act cause a poster with incorrect information or a twenty-four hours hotline that is often not answered is not helping many survivors. How can they maintain a zero-tolerance policy if a survivor can not even reach them during time of need? Makes you wonder if they purposely do this to defer survivors from reporting an assault.

There are some great SARCs out there-but at the same time there are incidents like these that should be fixed if the military is serious about sexual assault. Three incorrect emails out of six posted being incorrect? Nobody picking up a hotline that promises to be available 24 hours a day for a survivor? There is absolutely no excuse for that.

5 thoughts on “Massachusetts National Guard SARC’s receives an F.”

  1. Since that was my quote used let me explain more of what happened:

    I was raped, my SARC was 2nd Lt. Lori A. Alix who was never really available to help out a survivor. She ended up getting deployed so my new SARC was 1st LT Kelly Souza which whom I spoken to once and after that whenever I tried to call her she won’t pick up and when i blocked my number and she picked up she hung up on me. 2nd Lt. Lori A. Alix ended up winning an undeserving Sarc of the year award.

    I know other survivors that met with 1st Lt Kelly Souza who were told to get over the rape with a yoga program that was filled with MALE combat veterans. Why put a rape survivor in a therapeutic program that was filled with men? Another survivor said that she went to meet with Souza in which Souza took out all her problems to the survivor such as how Souza felt being newlywed and her husband being deployed and the pressure is too much for her. Well bitch, who cares about your problems, we are not your counselor-you are suppose to work with rape survivors not a rape survivor is suppose to help you with your personal problems. Souza also called me a liar cause I said that my rape was already reported and she could not find it so she said that I am lying about reporting it.

    Oh yeah and she call us all rape victims, how degrading.

    No comment on Jersouk Touy cause nobody that I know was able to talk to her-including a rape victim that was raped last month and has a rape kit done from a civilian hospital but has been unable to report it to the mass national guard cause they don’t answer her phone calls. Panayiota is helping her with that case so all should be good now. I guess that is the main reason Mass National Guard is under Panayiota’s radar right now.

  2. As a Regular Army enliste who volunteered twice and and served two tours as a medic in Vietnam with the First Infantry Division, I am appalled beyond comprehension. I demand a reevaluation of every case filed and that every individual at every level of command responsible for failing to follow-up in these cases be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, dishonorably discharged and denied any credit towards federal retirement

  3. I was sexually assualted in the Coast Guard 26 years ago by FN Kevin Drane he was found guilty at MAST and redeved 14 days extera duty, I had to look in his face everyday. I have requested the paperwork from the National Archives and hope to bring him to justice 26 to late. He is a sex offender and need to register as such. I will help anyway I can
    Linda Carroll Madson

  4. This just happened to my wife in the Florida national guard. My wife contacted the FL National Guard SARC on Camp Blanding. The SARC tried to convince my wife that it was an informal versus formal complaint. Informal versus formal is an equal opportunity issue and not an sexual assault issue. So its clear to me that this complaint was being railroaded into equal opportunity and not being taken seriously as a sexual assault. Secondly the Colonel SARC didnt even return my wifes call. The SARC said she would call my wife the next day with a time that they could meet (24/7 doesnt apply in her case). Obvioulsy people in the Florida National Guard only get raped or assaulted or even harassed during duty hours. The best part is that these people who treat sexual assault with such ignorance will get promoted or just moved to a higher position.

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