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Virtual reality SAPR training launches at LRAFB

A group of Airmen use virtual reality headsets

Airmen assigned to the 19th Airlift Wing participate in a Virtual Reality Sexual Assault Prevention and Response training at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Aug. 19, 2021. LRAFB is the second installation in Air Mobility Command to implement this new capability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mariam K. Springs)

A person uses a virtual reality headset

Master Sgt. Danielle Joe, 19th Force Support Squadron fitness center superintendent, uses a virtual reality headset during one of the first training sessions featuring the VR SAPR training at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Aug. 19, 2021. LRAFB is the second installation in Air Mobility Command to implement this new capability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mariam K. Springs)

A group of people listen to a briefing

Linda Benjamin, 19th Airlift Wing Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, speaks with Volunteer Victim Advocates from across Team Little Rock during the initial roll out of the Virtual Reality SAPR training at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Aug. 18, 2021. LRAFB is the second installation in Air Mobility Command to implement this new capability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mariam K. Springs)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- The use of Virtual Reality, or VR, is on the rise—and with it comes more immersive and interactive ways to train Airmen.  

Little Rock Air Force Base launched a VR Sexual Assault Prevention and Response training Aug. 19, becoming the second Air Mobility Command base to implement this capability.

“This is the way forward and is SAPR’s way to accelerate change in prevention, bring a new revolution to training and improve the training we provide,” said Linda Benjamin, 19th Airlift Wing Sexual Assault Response Coordinator. “The interactive training will help build our resilience and change our culture so that we all can have more respect for each other.”

The realism of VR training gives users an opportunity to sharpen their skills in sexual assault prevention by practicing in a one-on-one scenario and respond in real time.

Within the VR scenario, the user has responses they’re able to choose from, which will then determine how the conversation continues on.

“This first module is the user as an Airman talking to another Airman who has been a victim of sexual assault,” Benjamin said. “The other modules coming out at a later date are more advanced and are tailored to different roles such as; a volunteer victim advocate, SAPR personnel or higher levels of leadership.”

The training also provides a refresher to Airmen on their knowledge of the resources and support available for victims of sexual assault.

Tech. Sgt. Zachary Johnson, 19th Maintenance Squadron aircraft structural craftsman, explained that the immediate feedback gained from being in the scenario can help Airmen figure out what works, what drives empathy and what builds trust with whoever they’re speaking to.

“My initial reaction to this training was how incredible this technology is,” Johnson said. “It surprised me how effective it can be and the kind of emotions it elicits. It will make Airmen more prepared and better equipped in the decision making process if ever in this type of situation.”

Benjamin highlighted the training’s power of making people more engaged, proactive and serious about sexual assault prevention.

The SAPR VR training is just one way the Air Force continues to match the needs of its Airmen as the world becomes more technology advanced.

“When we protect our people, we protect our mission,” Benjamin said. “We have a significant mission here at Little Rock, so protecting our people helps them be able to do what they need to do to get that mission done. This isn’t a ‘one and done’ type of training, it is something they can continue throughout their Air Force career.”

The SAPR office currently has 21 individual headsets available for training for LRAFB personnel.

According to Benjamin, the SAPR VR training will count toward a member's FY21 annual SAPR training requirement.

For more information or to schedule a training session, contact the SAPR office by calling (501) 987-2685 or (501) 533-5467.

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