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19th AW Victim Advocate fights for victims’ healing

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kristine M. Gruwell
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Tiffany Clark, 19th Airlift Wing Sexual Assault Prevention and Response victim advocate, was nominated for a National Organization for Victims Assistance award by Leslie Boone, Victims’ Rights Arkansas member, for her extensive collaboration and motivation to enhance resources available for survivors of sexual assault at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas.

“Tiffany Clark was nominated because she embodies what is great about advocacy,” Boone said. “She is a collaborator and she reaches out with innovative creative possibilities. She lets survivors who talk with her make their own decisions and is able to provide them with resources and victims' rights information to promote their journey of healing.”

Clark’s passion for helping others began in sixth grade, when she read an article about a well-off couple who gave up their baby born with Down syndrome.

“If there was anybody who could have taken care of that child, it would have been those people who had the money, resources and health insurance, but they still didn’t keep the baby,” Clark said. “My heart broke, and I wondered who was going to stand up and make sure that baby gets a good home.”

From then on, Clark decided to stand up for people who were marginalized. While raising a family, she pushed forward into a professional career and began working as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children. While bettering the CASA program through cases and training volunteers, Clark met a woman working for Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention at Fort Riley, Kansas.

“When I heard about a job working with service members who were sexually assaulted, I knew that was the job I wanted.  It didn’t take a judge’s order for those people to get the help they need,” Clark said.

Her discussion with this service member opened up Clark’s perspective on the people she thought of as heroes. The numbers of sexually assaulted people in the military surprised her and she wanted to help in any way she could.

“If a civilian gets sexually assaulted in a bar, typically it doesn’t have to do with their job Monday morning, but when you’re in the military, your whole career becomes wrapped around it since statistically it’s more common for a military member to be assaulted by someone they work with,” Clark said.

After seven years of looking for SAPR VA positions, Clark finally landed her dream job on August 18, 2018, at the 19th AW and didn’t waste any time improving the program.

Clark evaluated the volunteer victim advocate program and realized there were not enough volunteers for the amount of survivors at Little Rock AFB. Starting out with eight volunteers, Clark grew the program to more than 30 volunteers in a short period of time.

In addition to improving the program’s volunteer numbers, Clark wanted to make sure everyone had the best training for the job. She reached out to Laura Abbott, Victims’ Rights Arkansas founder and sister of Boone, to participate in their numerous free training opportunities.

“Tiffany and her team were very aware of the recent number of deaths by suicide at LRAFB and throughout the military,” Boone said. “She immediately scheduled a Hope Suicide Prevention for Crime Victims’ Advocates training. This is a prime example of her reaching out to network and get resources in support of Airmen.”

The SAPR program and volunteer victim advocate program continues to grow, and Clark keeps fighting for the welfare and healing of Airmen regardless of the trauma they’ve endured, which is why Boone nominated her for the NOVA award.

“When I see a service member I feel safe, but when I realized how bad the numbers were for sexual assault in the military, I knew I had to do something to help them,” Clark said. “At the end of the day, people are what matter the most, and I was raised to highly respect the military.”

For more information about SAPR or if anyone needs SAPR assistance, the hotline phone number is (501) 987-7272.