JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) teams from naval installations and tenant commands spanning the Southeast region participated in ribbon tying ceremonies at 10 a.m. April 3, kicking off the region's Sexual Assault and Prevention Month (SAAPM).
During the ceremony held at Commander Navy Region Southeast (CNRSE) headquarters, Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar, commander, Navy Region Southeast, Lt. Clifford Johnson, the CNRSE regional SAPR officer, and Tina Vaughn, the CNRSE regional sexual assault response coordinator, tied teal ribbons representing SAAPM at the entrance to the headquarters.
"The significance of these ribbon tying events is how they serve as powerful statements of command unification across our region to show our support for sexual assault survivors, and to reaffirm our ongoing commitment to the prevention of sexual assault and other destructive behaviors that contribute to its occurrence and prevalence," Vaughn said.
These ceremonies, carried out simultaneously by all installations and commands under the umbrella of CNRSE, marked the first time that the commands have acted in unison to make a statement raising awareness about sexual assault and encouraging participants to step up and step in.
"Installations across our region are going to be very busy throughout the rest of the month with SAAPM events they have been planning for some time," Vaughn said. "Some events are new and others are signature. All of the work is aimed at greater awareness of the program and the services available, a better understanding of how victims and survivors are impacted, how we can best serve and support them, as well as how we can be a part of prevention going forward."
While this year's SAAPM theme is "Protecting our people protects our mission," this year's call to action is "Raise your voice for prevention." Historically, SAAPM has been geared toward increasing awareness regarding the impact and scope of sexual assault in the Navy. However, this year's focus has shifted to prevention. While increasing awareness is still an important concern, the Navy is now focusing on how to stop sexual assault before it occurs.
"Prevention, as a focus, is receiving a lot of good attention lately." Vaughn said. "Though we are still in the trenches figuring out what a programmatic prevention element might look like, we know what we want in terms of signature behaviors, those behaviors that embody Navy's core values and sustain a culture of excellence."
The Navy SAPR program's mission is to prevent and respond to sexual assault, eliminating it from its ranks through a balance of focused education, comprehensive response, compassionate advocacy and just adjudication in order to promote professionalism, respect and trust, while preserving Navy mission readiness.
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For more news from Commander, Navy Region Southeast, visit www.navy.mil/local/nrse/.