Longtime victim advocate answers calling to help her fellow Soldiers
Story by Stephanie Beougher, Ohio National Guard Public Affairs
COLUMBUS, Ohio (04/29/21)
Ohio Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Kindra Elder has a passion for helping others. Elder has been fulfilling that for the last 15 years as the 73rd Troop Command’s Sexual Assault Prevention & Response (SAPR) program victim advocate and, more recently, sexual assault response coordinator.
“I try to listen, be there for them, make sure they feel safe, and get them the resources they need,” Elder said.
“I try to listen, be there for them, make sure they feel safe, and get them the resources they need.”
Those resources can come from military or civilian organizations, to include counseling and legal services. Since she first started in 2006, Elder said she has seen the SAPR program evolve to a strongly supportive environment for victims to come forward for help.
“The climate is changing. We talk about sexual assault more, and commanders are more supportive and encouraging Soldiers to take care of themselves. I think that makes Soldiers more comfortable coming forward,” Elder said. It also helps that Elder, and others like her, have volunteered to be trained and ready to help.
“Her compass is sharply pointed to the health and welfare of the Soldiers in her brigade. No other Soldier provides their leadership with a higher level of knowledge, attention and support with regard to prevention of, and response to, sexual assault,” said Kyle Davidson, state SAPR victim advocate.
Elder hopes more Guard members, including senior enlisted members, will see the value of becoming advocates.
“I love doing this, but we need more volunteers. It’s not easy handling these cases, but it also can be rewarding because you’re helping someone. You’re helping them work through something they don’t know how to move forward with, and you’re able to help assist them with their journey,” she said.
Elder has been answering the call to help her fellow Soldiers with their journeys for a decade and a half, while also working toward the goal of eliminating sexual assault from among the force.