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Mountain Home Addresses Sexual Assault On Base

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By Brittany Cooper

Mountain Home, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) Sexual assault in the military is a topic becoming more prominent throughout the nation.

A recent Pentagon survey found that nationally, service men and women fell victim to 26,000 assaults in 2012. This is a rise in numbers, from 19,300 in 2010.

Through education and resources, the Mountain Home Air Force Base is hoping to put a stop to sexual assault.

Col. Christopher Short is seeing more and more sexual assault cases coming forward.

As Col. Short explains, "we hope the increased numbers in the Department of Defense and the Air Force is because people are trusting the system more and coming forward, but the numbers vary throughout the year."

But some lawmakers aren't shy about voicing their concerns over this issue.

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, a Democrat from Maryland explains, "what's happening isn't working. We have to deal with it. It makes us weaker, we cannot afford to do that in our military."

"I think it directly affects combat capability. That's why our Department of Defense exists, that's our mission is to protect our nation and if our airmen, soldiers, marines don't trust their chain of command, that's an issue, it's a national issue," adds Col. Short.

Has sexual assault in the military turned into a national crisis? Katherine Miller, the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator for Mountain Home says in some ways, yes.

"I believe that sexual assault anywhere is a crisis. Do I believe that it's more of a crisis in Idaho than Utah? No...but until we actually educate people and get more to be aware of what's going on, sexual assault is always going to be a crisis, one sexual assault is a crisis," exclaims Miller.

She conducts a number of briefings on base along with her victim advocates.

Col. Short says, "they're responsible for make sure the agencies on base, whether it's medical, it's mental health, airmen family readiness are there to help support them through this time of need."

You don't have to go off the Mountain Home Air Force Base to find resources that address sexual assault. Help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Miller adds, "we are a beginning to end which means that we respond when they first report they were sexually assaulted and we stay throughout that whole process until they come to us and say I no longer need you."

Putting the focus back on a united, not divided military.

If you need help, the hotline for the Mountain Home Air Force Base is (208) 828-7272.


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