The Naval Air Station Lemoore Sexual Assault Prevention and Response team joined forces with the MWR Gym & Fitness Center to hold a Zumba dance party on Wednesday evening in an effort to raise awareness about sexual assault and provide information about the resources that are available to those in the community.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The campaign was first observed nationally in 2001, and this year’s theme is “Embrace Your Voice.”
Dancers gathered on the gym’s basketball court, some clad in teal, the official color of the awareness effort, or dressed as superheroes.
Albert Swanson, the installation sexual assault response coordinator for NASL spoke to the crowd of over 75 participants about the importance of sexual assault awareness at the start of the evening, commenting on how important it was to see so many spouses at the Zumba Party.
“Spouses don’t receive the same training as active duty sailors and may not be aware of our support programs. We want everyone on base to know that they may not think sexual assault occurs in the military community, but it does,” Swanson said.
During the two-hour event, Zumba instructors from the gym and guest instructors from the town of Lemoore led choreographed routines to crowd favorites, such as “Beautiful Creatures” by Illenium, “Immortals” by Fall Out Boy, and “Kung Fu Fighting” by Carl Douglas.
Victim advocates were present to introduce participants and spectators to the people who work with the Sexual Awareness Prevention and Response program in the community. Information about SAPR partners, such as NCIS was available also.
The program is run by the Fleet & Family Support Center, and they were present at a booth providing information about the support and referral services they offer.
“It’s an important topic,” said Swanson. “It happens more than people know, and there are services that are provided that are confidential to help those who need it and to help them empower themselves.”
Those seeking help for sexual assault are advised to call the NASL SAPR hotline at (559) 318-6341 or the DoD Safe Helpline at (877) 995-5247. If you are in an emergency situation, SAPR advises calling 911.