By Vice Admiral C. Forrest Faison, III
Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
I want to address an important issue that demands our attention: sexual assault. Simply put, sexual assault is a crime against our family that destroys trust, divides us and diminishes our operational effectiveness. There is no place for sexual assault in our Navy and Marine Corps; it is corrosive to readiness, hinders our ability to perform our duty and is detrimental to the morale of our shipmates.
It saddens me to see that members of our Navy family still fall victim to this crime. Sexual assault is unacceptable and directly conflicts with our core values of honor, courage and commitment. We must continue to foster a culture where all members of our family, all Sailors and Marines, are treated professionally with respect and dignity.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. It is our chance to take action to increase awareness and help end sexual assault in our Navy. The theme—“Eliminate sexual assault. Know your part. Do your part.”—is a reminder that each of us has a role in preventing sexual assault. We must recognize our role and help our shipmates and colleagues. Know your part in sexual assault prevention; know when and where to intervene. Take action and, when necessary, get others to help. Become an active bystander and do your part in preventing sexual assault.
Navy Medicine supports sexual assault and prevention programs through our training and education efforts. Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examiner (SAMFE) training improves our ability to prevent and respond to sexual assault. SAMFE-trained providers are ready to perform around the clock to meet the immediate and long-term medical needs of sexual assault victims. Our SAMFE providers include sexual assault nurse examiners, physicians, physician assistants, advanced practice nurse practitioners and independent duty corpsmen, all trained and ready to provide care aboard ships, alongside Marines and in our military treatment facilities.
The responsibility falls on all of us to know and do our part. We must use the tools, knowledge and resources we possess to help prevent sexual assault. Our job is not done until sexual assault has been eliminated from our family and within our ranks. Stand up to this crime and do your part today!