By Ms. Jill V. Loftus
Director, Department of the Navy Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office
As the Director of the Department of the Navy Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (DON SAPRO), I am always on the lookout for new training methods to better engage our fleet in preventing sexual assault. With this in mind, I’d like to tell you about an exciting initiative my office is working on.
My staff and I are putting together a graphic novel to be distributed to every Navy and Marine Corps command as well as to every new Sailor and Marine recruit that will illustrate the concepts of consent and incapacitation. We are confident that this project will drive the Navy and Marine Corps sexual assault training priorities home and also help to ensure that our newest Sailors and Marines are equipped to enter the fleet.
For those of you unfamiliar with graphic novels, Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines them as, “a fictional story that is presented in comic-strip format and presented as a book.” Why did we choose this format? We chose it because we believe Sailors and Marines will learn from it and also enjoy immersing themselves in a rich plot complete with top-notch illustrations to emphasize key points. We want to encourage Sailors and Marines to discuss healthy and consensual relationships with a medium that will help them reflect upon their own attitudes and behaviors within their own lives.
What makes this project even more special is that our very talented illustrator is a Sailor. MC1 Mark Logico is stationed at Defense Media Activity and I am amazed with what he’s drawn so far.
We have conducted various focus groups during the development of the story and we will continue to involve service members in the publication process. On Oct. 21, we invited junior Sailors from the ceremonial guard and junior Marines from the Pentagon to review our first chapter and we received some great feedback. I’m looking forward to holding future focus groups with Sailors and Marines to make sure what we produce resonates with the fleet.
We expect to publish the novel in the spring of 2016 and I will keep you posted on our progress.