Military sexual assault victim reporting center opens at JBLM

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD -- The numbers are staggering -- an estimated 1 in 3 women in the military is a victim of sexual assault, and of those, only 1 in 10 victims come forward.

Traditionally, they report to someone in their chain of command but now at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, they’re changing that system.

The SHARP Resource Center is a place where victims can report abuse, and meet with a number of important people.

“Prosecutors, law enforcement, advocates and medical personnel are all here so they don’t have to go all over post to find the people they need retell their stories over and over again,” said victim advocate Patti McGill.

The center started meeting with victims two months ago, and so far, they are getting positive feedback.

“They are telling us they are very comfortable here, this feels safe for them. They like having the options of who to report to and everyone is in one place,” said McGill.

Lt. Gen. Bob Brown attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday and says he hopes this center makes a big impact.

“Sexual assault in the military is unacceptable period.  It’s a form of an insider threat that cuts at the very fabric of which makes our army the greatest in the world,” said Brown.  “If this works, my prediction is that this will go Army-wide and possibly Department of Defense wide because it’s such a great idea.”

The center was modeled after similar operations in the civilian world.  They are open during normal base hours and have set up a 24/7 victim hotline at 253-389-8469.