By Amanda Kim Stairrett
Killeen Daily Herald
FORT HOOD - Those wanting to take a swing at sexual assault have until Friday to visit the corner of 761st Tank Battalion Avenue and T.J. Mills Boulevard and do some damage.
In recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Fort Hood and III Corps invite people to swing a hammer at a donated car. The car is emblazoned with words like "rape," "violence," "sexual assault," "trauma," "abusive sexual contact," "forcible sodomy" and "indecent exposure."
Before hitting the car, participants must raise their right hands and recite the following: "I pledge to intervene, act and motivate myself and others for the prevention of sexual assault. I. A.M. Strong."
I. A.M. Strong is a campaign the Army unveiled last year to encourage bystanders to stand up and speak for those they see victimized. It stands for "intervene," "act" and "motivate."
"When I recognize a threat to my fellow soldiers, I will have the personal courage to INTERVENE and prevent sexual assault," read information from the Army.
"You are my brother, my sister, my fellow soldier. It is my duty to stand up for you, no matter the time or place. I will take ACTION.
"We are American soldiers, MOTIVATED to keep our fellow soldiers safe."
Command Sgt. Maj. Donald Felt, the garrison's top senior noncommissioned officer, took the first swing at the car on Monday. As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 200 people had done the same, said Mark Francis, the post's sexual assault response program coordinator.
Maj. Gen. William Grimsley, III Corps and Fort Hood senior mission commander, signed a proclamation recognizing the Army's effort to reduce sexual assault April 1.
Sexual assault erodes trust and confidence among the ranks, he said, and degrades men and women in uniform.
Fort Hood has sponsored or participated in a series of events this month to promote sexual abuse awareness. They included an April 15 self-defense seminar and an
April 19 victims' rights program in Copperas Cove.
Francis said the response program also gets out its message by posting its abuse hot line in local clubs. Fort Hood's 24/7 sexual assault crisis line is available at (254) 702-4953. Callers can report a sexual assault or speak with a victim advocate.
Information about the program is also available at the car-demolition site.
The event is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Friday. Call (254) 286-6774 for more information.
Contact Amanda Kim Stairrett at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7547. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.