Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

From Commander, Military Sealift Command

Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

Next week marks the beginning of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month or SAAPM. The goal of SAAPM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and educate communities on how to prevent it. While one month alone isn’t enough to solve the serious and widespread issue of sexual violence, the attention that SAAPM generates in April is an opportunity to energize and expand prevention efforts throughout the year.

Participation in SAAPM events can help us to achieve three important goals:

– Empower our Sailors and civilian team members to speak up whenever and wherever they see the behavior that can lead to sexual assault (online, at their workspace, amongst their peers/seniors/subordinates);

– Promote a Navy culture that is intolerant of sexual assault and online misconduct, and that encourages reporting of sexual assault, and supports those who report sexual assault; and

– Position MSC as an organization that takes sexual assault very seriously and is implementing steps to eliminate it from our ranks.

We can take an active position in this continuing campaign by encouraging behaviors that foster a climate of dignity and respect. Importantly, learning and then implementing prevention practices can help to reduce the incidence of sexual assault. Our charge is to create the necessary culture to eliminate sexual assault; this requires a personal commitment from all service members and civilians at every level.

At MSC we continue to expand our Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Program, with a focus on prevention, crisis intervention, comprehensive training, command-wide education, and support to victims and their families. Most importantly, the intervention portion of the program is designed to support victims and their families as they deal with the many issues following sexual assault trauma.

Thank you to those who will be participating in sexual assault awareness and prevention events during the month, either at your work location or in your local communities. On April 9 at 1 p.m. at the MSC headquarters building, we will participate in the “Walk a Lap for a Survivor” event honoring sexual assault survivors. This year’s honorary survivor is retired Marine Jeremiah Arbogast. In addition, SAAPM events will take place at our Civilian Mariner Support Units in Norfolk on April 1 and San Diego on April 30.

In addition, I encourage you to participate in Teal Tuesdays during the month of April by wearing teal clothing, or teal ribbons for military personnel, to show support for survivors and to raise awareness.

Those working at other locations should look for opportunities to participate in SAAPM activities taking place near you.

United We Sail,

Rear Adm. Dee L. Mewbourne, USN

Commander, Military Sealift Command

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