By Rear Adm. Mark L. Tidd
Chief of Chaplains
Sexual assault betrays our core values of honor, courage and commitment. It attacks the human dignity of our shipmates. It affects the survivor for years to come. It undermines the morale of our Sailors and the teamwork of our commands — all critical to our mission readiness.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, and this year we’ve focused on the theme of “Courage:”
- Learn about the problem of sexual assault through fleet-wide training efforts;
- Prevent sexual assault by doing the right thing — and that includes building a culture where all Sailors are treated professionally and with respect;
- Intervene as a bystander, which is key to preventing sexual assaults before they occur;
- Support those who have been sexually assaulted;
- Commit ourselves to all of these efforts not just this month, but every day — to build a culture where there is no place for sexual harassment or assault.
The Navy Chaplain Corps is committed to helping educate Sailors during fleet-wide training on the sexual assault reporting options and what to expect in the reporting process. We are committed to providing compassionate pastoral support to Sailors throughout the military justice process as we work with partners like the uniformed victim advocate and the sexual assault response coordinator.
Chaplains are among the first responders when a sexual assault occurs. Our unique position —operating forward, embedded within commands 24/7 — enables us to help victims become survivors who regain a sense of wholeness and find hope in times of deepest human need. Rooted in the sacred trust between an individual and a chaplain, chaplains are bound by absolute confidentiality — what you say to us stays between us, unless you decide differently.
I respect the courage it takes for a victim to find help, and to file a restricted or unrestricted report. Your chaplain is available to provide you a safe place to talk, without fear or judgment, and we are committed to providing pastoral support to you throughout the military justice process.
We also are in a unique position to provide pastoral care to an alleged perpetrator, as well as help convicted perpetrators find their way back into our lifelines of honor, courage and commitment.
It takes courage to do the right thing — to intervene when something just doesn’t seem right. And it takes courage to build a culture where all Sailors are treated professionally and with respect … a culture where there is no place for sexual harassment or assault.
We own it…We’ll solve it…Together.
If you don’t know who your nearest chaplain is, call Navy 311 at 1-855-NAVY-311 or text Navy311@navy.mil to request chaplain support in your area.
Help raise awareness by joining the conversation on social media using #SexualAssault and #SAAPM.
More information about Navy sexual assault prevention, posters and other tools are posted to Navy Personnel Command’s Sexual Assault and Prevention website.
For help and support in dealing with a sexual assault, resources are available through:
Safe Helpline (for service members):
● Visit safehelpline.org to receive live, one-on-one confidential help with a trained professionals through a secure instant-messaging format.
● Call 1-877-995-5247 to speak with Safe Helpline staff for personalized advice and support.
● Text your location to 55247 inside the United States or 202-470-5546 outside of the United States to receive automated contact information for the sexual assault response coordinator at your installation or base. A sexual assault victim advocate may be assigned to assist you.
Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network:
● Visit https://ohl.rainn.org/online/ for free, confidential and secure help that is just a click away.
● Call 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) to speak with trained, professional counselors for advice or support.