VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
Comprised of two coordinators, one lead victim advocate, a courthouse facility dog and 20 volunteer victim advocates, the 30th Space Wing Sexual Assault Prevention and Response team works diligently to effect change on base and within the local community.
The members of the 30th SW SAPR team continuously strive to make a difference every day by implementing countless programs, engaging and contributing their time towards the local community, and being there for the members of Vandenberg AFB and the community. These efforts did not go unnoticed and aided the SAPR team in winning the 2019 Department of the Air Force Exceptional SAPR Team Award.
One of the top accomplishments for the team in 2019 was how they initiated the 30th SW flight commander and superintendent course, developing SAPR training specific to that of flight-level leaders. The training included information ranging from unconscious biases to stereotypes surrounding victimization, as well as providing flight leaders with tools and resources to effectively support those in their organization seeking assistance.
The team has trained 125 flight commanders and superintendents on the curriculum, which has allowed supervisors to provide early intervention in harmful situations, decreasing the risk of violence and creating a safer work and living environment.
In addition to winning the Air Force level award as a team for 2019, Teresa Loya, 30th SW SAPR victim advocate, took home one of the most prestigious awards a victim advocate can receive, the Department of the Air Force Exceptional Victim Advocate Award. Throughout 2019, Loya presented more than 500 members with her personal testimony of recovery after sexual assault in the military, which led to open conversations and trust among those she shared with. She highlighted the support she received specifically from SAPR and how these support services assisted her in becoming the person she is today after experiencing trauma.
“Like many of us, I know so many individuals whose lives have been impacted by some form of abuse or interpersonal violence,” said Loya. “I made it my mission years ago to get involved in ways that I felt would make the most impact.”
In her testimony, she touched on the many ways the Air Force is advancing services and policy to continue to support survivors going forward and how these services gave her the foundation she has today.
“I went from a victim to the best Victim Advocate in the Air Force. I want to show others that they don’t have to carry those burdens alone, that things do get better, and we will believe them,” said Loya.
Throughout 2019, the 30th SW SAPR team found ways to innovate and train members across the base and Department of Defense, while providing dedicated victim support to both the base and local communities.