by Samantha Lund, News Editor
Lieutenant Colonel Celia FlorCruz is coming to Pacific Lutheran University to share her journey from sexual assault victim to military leader. FlorCruz’s lecture will be the opening lecture for the Spring Spotlight Series titled “…and Justice for All?”
FlorCruz was sexually assaulted at age 17, but she did not allow her story to stop there.
She went on to graduate from West Point, fly helicopters as a Medevac pilot in Operation Desert Storm and command a medical unit. She now serves as the Soldier Readiness Officer of the U.S. Army’s largest division – the 7th Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
FlorCruz also runs the Sexual Harassment/Assault Prevention, SHARP, program at JBLM. She has been working with victims of sexual assault since 1977. SHARP is the first Army-required comprehensive program that centers on awareness and prevention, training and education, victim advocacy, response, reporting and accountability as it aims to “eliminate sexual assault by creating a climate that respects the dignity of every member of the Army family.”
Since joining JBLM, FlorCruz has become the top sexual assault prevention and response officer in the 7th Infantry, which includes the base’s main combat brigades.
Her position as a SHARP leader has thrown FlorCruz into the limelight because of rising reports of sexual assault in the military and lawmaker attempts to find solutions.
With her background and military experience, FlorCruz has made it her goal to lower sexual assault rates in the military and on college campuses. Sexual assault is most prevalent in the military and on college campuses. For FlorCruz these places are where she wants to start making a difference.
FlorCruz is the second event opening the Spring Spotlight Series. The series is a combination of justice-related events open to the community. The topics include sexual assault, sex trafficking, environmental justice and the removal of indigenous children and the youngest voices of the Holocaust.
FlorCruz will visit PLU Feb. 17 to share her story. Her lecture will be in the Karen Hillie Phillips Center at 6 p.m.