Ellsworth welcomes new SARC

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Anania Tekurio
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Ellsworth welcomes a new advocate for helping victims of sexual assault regain their sense of power, Lee Sasse.

Sasse, who has been at Ellsworth since 2001 working as a family advocacy program clinician in the 28th Medical Operations Squadron Mental Health Clinic and a community outreach manager, took over as the base's Sexual Assault Response Coordinator when the former SARC moved.

"Being the new SARC is an exciting opportunity to continue my prevention and resilience mission at Ellsworth," Sasse said. "I have dedicated the last 13 years to helping the Ellsworth community and it means a lot that I'm being trusted with this responsibility."

Solely focused on victims and their needs, the SARC is the central contact at Ellsworth for those who have been victims of sexual assault. The SARC, along with volunteer victim advocates, assists victims in connecting with legal, medical, mental health and law enforcement support.

"The SAPR [Sexual Assault Prevention and Response] program is important because one sexual assault is too many," Sasse emphasized. "There are men and women out there that have been sexually assaulted and the isolation they feel can be overwhelming."

Sasse said it's crucial to have a point of contact on base with the resources and knowledge to help victims on their road to recovery.

He explained that education and prevention efforts are key to reducing sexual assaults, adding that Airmen looking to help with those efforts can volunteer to become victim advocates.

To become a victim advocate, volunteers will go through an application and interview process with the SARC. A background check is then administered and anyone chosen to be an advocate will then go through a week-long class designed to equip them with the knowledge and skills to help victims of sexual assault.

In addition, all victim advocates will be certified by the National Organization for Victim Assistance before they have contact with a victim.

"I look forward to my new role and continued work within this community," Sasse said.

To contact the SARC or to become a victim advocate, call the SARC office at (605) 385-5233.
To contact the 24/7 Sexual Assault report line, call (605) 385-SARC (7272).