Prevention Dormitory Advocates provide liaisons to SARC

  • Published
  • By Airman Donald C. Knechtel
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
A group of Ellsworth Airmen motivated to assist their peers in a time of need turned to the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator for training and guidance to start a new initiative.

The Prevention Dormitory Advocate team are trained volunteers who reside in the dorms and act as liaisons between dorm residents and victim advocates, in the event of a sexual assault.

Dorm advocates provide a more comfortable connection for dorm Airmen to the SARC and victim advocates.

"The PDAs are a team of Airmen in the dorms that have come together to stop sexual assault and to get the message out about what's going on, to start a conversation," said Senior Airman Arielle Self, 432nd Attack Squadron mission intelligence coordinator and Dorm Council president.

Senior Airmen Austin Livengood, 28th Communications Squadron knowledge management journeyman, noted that Self brought the idea to the Dorm Council this year and other Airmen jumped on board.

The idea for the team was brought up in a meeting about the improvement of quality of life for the Airmen in the dorms, establishing a new way to tackle sexual assault. Those on the team must undergo eight hours of foundational training, two hours of additional training every quarter, and be vetted by their respective first sergeant.

"The reason why I thought this was important and made [the team] was because one of my friends was raped in the dorms and she didn't come out with an unrestricted report until just recently," Self stated. "I happened to be one of the only people she told at that time and I had no idea what to do. I didn't know who to call if she needed anyone."

After hearing something like this done at other bases, Self, along with the assistance of Airmen like Livengood, chose to implement the program as a way to help those in the dorms affected by these crimes.

"It feels really good to be a part of this team," Livengood said. "We are here to help guide people into resources, providing a new medium to talk through."

Both Self and Livengood commented that, if interested, senior airmen can apply to be part of the team. Those interested can speak with anyone on the team, dorm council, or the dorm managers who will pass on their name to the SARCs.

"People like to think that sexual assault doesn't happen, but it does and it doesn't just happen to females," Self said. "That's why we're here; we are here to help."