A Call to Action

Courage Can Stop Sexual Assaults

Navy Photo

Editor's Note: Command Master Chief Marc Sibal, former 7th Fleet Master Chief and current Region Command Master Chief for Navy Region Hawaii, asks Sailors if they have the courage to prevent, confront and intervene in cases of sexual assault. Sibal's call to action comes with some dos and don'ts to help Sailors ashore, on the waterfront, or underway.

Do you have the courage to intervene if you see a shipmate being threatened, abused or assaulted? We need people of courage who are willing to prevent and confront sexual assault, who have the courage to support victims, and who are committed to putting an end to this serious crime.

The serious issue of sexual assaults continues to focus our attention, not only for the Navy but also for the military as a whole. We need your assistance.

From recruit training to deckplate Chiefs' leadership to senior DoD leaders' guidance, there is a strong continuum of commitment and zero tolerance for sexual assaults in our ranks now and into the future. We have made great strides in raising awareness, but there is much more to be done.

When parents and grandparents entrust their young adult family members to us it becomes our responsibility to do everything we can to keep them safe -- with an opportunity to grow and contribute. We must arm our shipmates with the tools and skills they need to succeed - and stay safe. Here are some key dos and don'ts to keep in mind.

Do:


- Learn about sexual assault - its causes and the best way to prevent it.
- Promote an environment where everyone is given dignity and respect, where diversity is celebrated.
- Take a stand against sexist behavior, sexual harassment and sexual assault.
- Do the right thing. Prevention is best, but intervention is critical. Then, have the honor, courage and commitment to follow through.

Don't:


- Don't put yourself or others in compromising situations. Alcohol is a recurring factor in most sexual assaults, and many happen late at night.
- Don't lose control of yourself, and don't try to control others. If you are in a leadership position, take your responsibilities (not your power) seriously.
- Don't take the issue lightly. Sexual assault is a serious crime. It hurts readiness. It hurts our people. And it has no place in our ranks.
- Don't assume you won't be prosecuted if you're found guilty.

During this awareness campaign and throughout the year let's step up, take a stand and stop sexual assault. It must stop. You can do your part. Have the courage to stop it now, and LEAD.

Graphic illustration by Willie Kendrick, Defense Media Activity - Navy.

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