MILFORD, Mass. - Capt. Susan O. Remer, 212 Engineering Installation Wing, Massachusetts Air National Guard here, has been appointed as the new Sexual Assault Response Coordinator for the Massachusetts National Guard.
With a long Air Force career and joining the Air National Guard in 1992, Remer is fully capable of handling the SARC responsibilities.
“I’m 100% dedicated to the Soldiers and Airmen,” said Remer.
Before becoming the SARC here, she worked as a Victim Advocate for her unit, said Remer.
“With the 212th I was asked if I would like to become the squadron Victim Advocate,” said Remer. “Which I actively volunteered to do.”
“I went to the Victim Advocate school last July and had already been back working in the Healthcare field on the civilian side,” said Remer. “So helping people is along the lines of what I like to do.”
In addition, knowledge gained from her time in the civilian world backs up her experience as a Victim Advocate.
“Last year I dealt more with veterans affected by Alzheimer’s,” said Remer. “Even with Alzheimer’s it was easy to detect those who had suffered a military sexual trauma.”
“Also, I was an EMT a long time ago,” said Remer. “So I understand how to approach anyone who’s had a trauma.”
Furthermore, it is important to know that if you’ve been a victim, you’re not alone.
“Like I’ve said, I’m here for every Soldier and Airmen,” said Remer.
Also, it is crucial to know how not to become a victim. Prevention is ideal.
“If you’re going out with your friends, make sure you leave with your friends. If you’re going to drink a little bit, do it in moderation. Always have some extra money in case of emergencies and you need to get yourself home.”
Be aware of leaving your drink when you’re out, said Remer. If you step away from it, make sure you don’t go back to it and start drinking it again.
Most importantly, stick with your wingman or battle buddy, said Remer. Never leave your buddy behind.
However, if you do get assaulted the first contact you should make, is with 911, said Remer. If the assault just happened—you should go to an emergency room.
“If you are a victim, call for help immediately,” said Remer. “Don’t throw away your clothes, don’t shower right away, don’t eat or drink right away and go to the hospital to have a SAFE kit examination. This way you can preserve the evidence.”
The SAFE kit stands for sexual assault forensic exam, said Remer.
“If you’re in the military, by all means contact this office,” said Remer. “Because we can take it from there.”
The SARC program has a system in place designed to assist the victim in getting help, reporting and surviving.
“The only people who a victim can confidentially report to is a SARC, chaplain or a healthcare worker,” said Remer. “Everyone else is a mandated reporter.”
“Commander’s are not alone in this process either, said Remer. “First thing they should know is that they are a mandated to inform.”
The first thing a commander should do is to make sure that the victim is safe and if there is still a threat, call 911, said Remer.
“After that, the commander should call the SARC office and we can assist them with the procedure,” said Remer.
Once a report is made through the commander it is unrestricted, said Remer. The SARC will involve the local police or CID. They will make sure that the evidence is preserved.
Lastly, they’ll assess the situation, if the Soldier or Airmen who allegedly performed the assault needs to be moved from the unit or if the victim wants to be reassigned that could also happen, said Remer.
“Ultimately my goal is to advocate for the victim to make sure they are given respect and that their wishes are taken care of,” said Remer. “To make sure that if they don’t feel comfortable, we put them on the right track.”
Specifically, it’s Remers’ ultimate goal that if anyone has been victimized they become a survivor.
“I will do everything I need to do to make sure that they are in the survivor category and they are ready to move on without my assistance,” said Remer. EDITOR’S NOTE: If you have been assaulted call the Sexual Assault Helpline at 1-(508)-889-6644.