CHEYENNE, Wyo. --
Sexual assault prevention and response; we hear it every April. Sometimes this annual training seems redundant, yet sexual assaults still happens within the United States military.
Sexual assault isn’t unique to the military, it’s a problem in the civilian world as well. Because of this, the ladies of Pink Gloves Boxing Cheyenne joined military units throughout Wyoming as well as the Cheyenne community in taking a stand against sexual assault by rucking in the recent Sexual Assault Prevention and Response 5K run, ruck and walk event held in downtown Cheyenne.
Pink Gloves Boxing Cheyenne is an all-women’s boxing gym comprised of women from various backgrounds. These women include former military members, women who help victims of sexual assault and women who have been sexually assaulted themselves.
Because of the sensitive nature of past experiences, many of the women in the group have chosen to withhold some personal information when interviewed.
Janel, the owner of Pink Gloves Boxing Cheyenne, decided to participate in the event as sexual assault directly impacts many of the women within her gym.
“This is a great event for us as a women’s group to come together and acknowledge that a lot of women in our group have gone through this and we want to stand up and say this is not okay,” she said. “Everyone should be treated with respect and the purpose of us rucking was to come out here and not say what we think, but show it.”
The decision to ruck in the event was representative of the weight sexual assault places on victims. The team chose to carry a seventy-pound punching bag in addition to their rucks.
“We are trying to lift the burden for someone else, who isn't able to do it themselves - whether that’s mentally or physically,” said Pamela Coleman, a retired master sergeant.
Coleman, who at one point in her career acted as a unit training manager in the Wyoming Air National Guard, is very familiar with the SAPR program. Being able to pair her love of her boxing community with something she knows affects many people, including those she has served next to, is meaningful to her.
“It means a lot because I am a prior training manager and I spent a lot of time conducting training on sexual assault and prevention,” Coleman said. “I’ve met so many people who have been affected by it, so just by being able to get out here and to show my support is pretty amazing.”
For one of the Pink Gloves ladies, being able to take a stand against sexual assault was motivated by being a victim of sexual assault herself.
“Being a woman who has been a victim of sexual assault, I definitely support anyone who is going through it,” said Juanita. “It’s important to let victims know they’re not alone and we’re behind them all the way. I think about the statistics and it’s something like one in three women will be sexually assaulted in their lives. I have three daughters and to think it’s happened to me and it could just as easily happen to them makes me want to raise awareness and fight a little harder.”
Sexual assault is a universal problem and one of Pink Gloves Boxing’s mottos say it best - your fight is our fight.
By coming together as a community to raise awareness of sexual assault, the problem of sexual assault has transitioned from one's fight, to everyone's fight.