Twentynine Palms -- Runners wearing pristine white t-shirts are doused in colorful powder as they run through a paint station marking the first half mile. The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program held its annual Colorful Consent 5k Run aboard the Combat Center April 7, 2017.
SAPR is dedicated to eliminating sexual assault within the Marine Corps and providing continuity of care for victims of sexual assault through effective education, policy, and program support. SAPR held the run to raise awareness of sexual assault, as well as provide the Combat Center community with more opportunities to learn about the installation’s resources.
“We are doing this for the third year during the month of April, which is national sexual violence awareness month,” said Abby Gustafson, Combat Center Sexual Assault Response Coordinator. “We like to hold large scale events like this one so we can inform as many people as possible and spread awareness.”
The event began with opening remarks from members of the Morongo Basin Sexual Assault Services office located in Yucca Valley, Calif. After the opening remarks more than 575 participants lined up at the start line with clean-white shirts. The run took the participants around a 5-kilometer course, starting at the installation’s physical fitness test track and snaking through the open desert.
“It was fun hanging out with friends and family. We jogged most of it but overall it was a good time,” said Cpl. Michael Reynoso, optics technician, 7th Marine Regiment. “Also they spread the word on sexual assault prevention, which I think everyone should know about.”
The runners went through four different stations where they were covered in various colored powders. At the finish line, the runner’s once white shirts were caked with colors from the various stations they ran through.
According to Gustafson, a denim day is scheduled in the coming weeks. Denim days are conducted in order to raise awareness of rape and sexual assault. The SAPR office also plans on talking to Marines at the mess halls and Marine Corps Exchange to further spread awareness.
“My unit let us come out here to support the SAPR program and it feels pretty good,” Reynoso said. “I’m glad I did it and got the opportunity to learn more about resources for victims of sexual assault.”
For various resources or assistance, call the 24/7 Sexual Assault Support Line at 760-799-0273.