“This is my problem and this is your problem. Sexual assault is unacceptable and its roots need to stop at all levels; I can’t tolerate it and you shouldn’t either. It undermines our Navy Core Values and Ethos, and it undercuts safety and readiness.” – Adm. Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations
Sexual Assault Prevention is an important element of the readiness area of the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative which consolidates a set of objectives and policies, new and existing, to maximize Sailor and Marine personal readiness, build resiliency and hone the most combat-effective force in the history of the Department. The Department of the Navy (DoN) is working aggressively to prevent sexual assaults, to support sexual assault victims, and to hold offenders accountable.
The Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military reports there were 611 sexual assaults in the Navy in FY10. 49% of unrestricted reports were aggravated sexual assaults.
Alcohol is involved in 46% of sexual assaults (FY10).
The largest victim and known offender demographic is E1-E4, 20-24 years old.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month
April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) and presents an opportunity for commands around the world to dedicate focused attention and training on the importance of eliminating this crime. The Department of Defense (DOD) SAAM theme is: “Hurts one. Affects all. Preventing sexual assault is everyone’s duty.”
Navy Personnel Command’s Sexual Assault and Prevention Response website has awareness, training and other resources available to support command activities throughout this important month.
A Call To Action
The Navy has made progress over the past several years to reduce incidents of sexual assault within its ranks, but more work must be done to eliminate this reprehensible crime from our service.
Throughout the month of April, we will take an All Hands approach toward promoting sexual assault awareness. In addition to DOD’s overarching theme, the Navy will highlight complementary sub-themes each week in April. The sub-themes will underscore varying aspects of sexual assault and the Navy’s efforts to raise awareness and eliminate this heinous crime.
The Navy will focus its SAAM initiatives on awareness and prevention of sexual violence through the use of command-level education and special events.
SAAM Weekly Focus
- 1-7 April: Hurts One. Sexual assault victims are our Shipmates.
- 8-14 April: Affects All. Sexual assault impacts readiness and combat effectiveness.
- 15-21 April: Prevention is Everyone’s Duty. We must look out for our Shipmates and prevent harm.
- 22-30 April: We Will Not Tolerate Sexual Assault.
Every Sailor will participate in sexual assault awareness training this month. Commanding officers will be afforded the option of either holding one two-hour stand down or, preferably, breaking the discussions into four 30- minute weekly sessions to keep awareness fresh and in the forefront of Sailors’ minds.
All commands must make Sailors aware of the scope of the problem, the resources available to victims, the detrimental affect sexual assault has on readiness, and that the Navy will not tolerate the victimization of our Shipmates.
Fostering a command climate in which reporting sexual assault is embraced starts with strong deck-plate leaders.